In a recent post, Stephen Heard noted that he signs most of his reviews because he wants authors to be able to contact him if they have any questions or want to discuss the review. Several commenters on Stephen’s post, and on Meg’s recent post on signing reviews, said they sign their reviews for the same reason (e.g.). And some of those commenters said that they have in fact been contacted by authors wanting to discuss the reviews.
All of which surprised me, because I’d never heard of this practice! The possibility of contacting a reviewer to discuss a review before responding to it had never even occurred to me, even though I’ve been an author and reviewer for 20 years now.
I’m still mulling over what I think about this practice. On the one hand, the reviewers who do it are trying to be helpful, and I’m sure the authors who contact them appreciate the help. On the other hand, that authors appreciate it is potentially a problem–I worry that the practice creates the opportunity for unethical quid pro quos. I’m not the only one who worries about this. So I dunno.
Anyway, I’m curious how common this practice is, and what ecologists as a group think of it. So below is a quick 3-question poll.
Note that the poll is asking about author-reviewer correspondence outside the formal review process. I’m not talking about journals that oblige authors and reviewers to engage in a back-and-forth discussion.
Note as well that the poll refers only to author-reviewer correspondence after the reviews are in but before the revision is submitted. I’m not asking about authors contacting reviewers after the paper is accepted, or rejected without possibility of resubmission.
Looking forward to discovering just how unrepresentative my own anecdotal experiences are on this. 🙂