Sunday, September 20, 2009

When the Reviewer is Definitly Wrong

Some of us know the bitter sting of a journal rejection. We've come to curse the existence of "reviewer 2" (really, there's an entire Facebook group devoted to the cause).

Well, sometimes the reviewer is just plain wrong. This paper collects a few reviews from famous academics who, just this once, were completely on the wrong side of history.

My particular favorite? Dijkstra, someone that all of you should be familiar with, wrote a seminal paper warning against the use of goto statements. One reviewer voted to reject it, questioning this notion of structured programming. This reviewer concludes with this gem of a statement:

Publishing this would waste valuable paper: Should it be published, I am as sure it will go uncited and unnoticed as I am confident that, 30 years from now, the goto will still be alive and well and used as widely as it is today.

The author should withdraw the paper and submit it someplace where it will not be peer reviewed. A letter to the editor would be a perfect choice: Nobody will notice it there!

We all know how this one turned out.

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