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The open-review system and its challenges

One interesting fact about receiving +20 reviews on a single paper is that: it can be contradictory, conflicting. One reviewer may say your paper is badly organized, poor language and more. The paper is evaluated as well-organized and clearly written by another reviewer. Who is right?? how can we handle those conflicting signals about your writing skills?

This is how I try to handle the issues:

  1. I try not to delay the review reading. You can read a first time, just to let your emotions get familiar with the reviews. And come back later.

  2. I try to allow several reviews, before making changes on the paper.

  3. Your paper is not as bad as the bad reviews suggest, neither it is as good as the good reviews suggest. Both bad and good reviews have something to teach;

  4. The good reviews suggest you what you got right, the bad ones where you may want to pay attention to.

Some challenges:

  1. Some reviews may not be productive;

  2. Some reviews may not leave it clear what is wrong with your paper, they just say something is wrong, but never really point that out;

  3. The hardest review are the generic ones, such as "poor language", "must use formal language". In the cases they have really point out the example, they were wrong or represent writing preferences.

Those reviews are not different from any feedback you may receive on other works. As so, they must actually follow protocols to give feedback. Sadly, they do not follow any protocols. This means that you may receive awesome reviews, but some are really poor reviews.

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