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That Rude Reviewer

Rude and unprofessional paper reviewers are common in the sciences, ScienceInsider reports.

Researchers from California State University, Northridge, and Occidental College conducted an anonymous survey of researchers from 46 different countries working in more than a dozen different science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines to get 1,106 responses. In the survey, the researchers asked whether the respondents had ever received an unprofessional review and how they viewed the effect of that review on their careers.

As they reported in PeerJ this week, Cal State's Nyssa Silbiger and Amber Stubler from Occidental found that 58 percent of respondents had received an unprofessional review at some point in their careers, with 70 percent of those responding having received multiple unprofessional reviews. While the researchers noted that individuals belonging to four intersectional groups — women of color and non-binary people of color; men of color; white women and white non-binary people; and white men — were equally likely to receive such reviews, the effect of having received an unprofessional review did differ by group. 

Women, non-binary people, and people of color all reported that such unprofessional reviews increased their feelings of self doubt, and people of color in particular reported that such reviews affected their career advancement.