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How to Write a Referee Report (guest post by John Greco)

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The following is a guest post* by John Greco, who is currently Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy at Saint Louis University, but will soon be taking up the McDevitt Chair in Philosophy at Georgetown University. It first appeared at The Philosopher’s Cocoon. Stefan Zsaitsits, “Workshop” How to Write a Referee Report  by John Greco I am sure that there will be varying opinions about how to write a referee report. In keeping with the spirit of this series, I here offer my own opinion, based on my own experience as someone who has written and read quite a few such reports. I have written them as a referee, of course. I have read some as an author, but many more as the editor of a major philosophy journal. It is this last perspective, I believe, that is most useful for present purposes. For referee reports, remember, are written primarily for journal editors.[1] That is, the defining purpose of a referee report—its raison d’etre—is to help a journal editor to make a decision about a submission. And that is what gives us insight into the criteria for a good referee report. Already I have said something (at least one thing) that is substantive and controversial. That is, I don’t think that everyone would agree that this is indeed the primary purpose of a referee report. Many writers of such reports seem to think (or at least this is what I gather from reading their reports) that referee reports are primarily directed at authors, and for the purpose of improving the paper that is being evaluated. In my opinion, this is a mistake, and it leads to many of the problems that are typical of referee reports. In any case, below I will describe what I think are the essential elements of a good referee report, guided by my understanding that referee reports are supposed to help editors make a decision on a submission. Following that, I will go over what I take to be some common mistakes and unhelpful practices. The elements of a. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

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