Having a thick skin and the ability to shrug off harsh and sometimes personal criticism is an often unrecognized trait of a scientist. You put your work out there to the world and get feedback from often anonymous peers(but this is changing slowly) . The system works usually pretty well and 99% of the time makes the paper better. When the comments are highly critical, you go through a mini five stages of grief but you always come around and the paper gets better. I’ve definitely had my fair share of critical feedback, but one of my recent favorites was a reviewer suggesting that my literature review “hadn’t gone beyond the literature”….(?) However, none have come close to the comments that this author received:
there are so many good lines but this one is the best: “This paper has merit and no errors, but I do not like it …”
Pleasing that it still got published in the journal anyway!
Animal ecology recently put out an interesting post about what reviewers want (see the link below). Particularly interesting that so may respondents to the survey though a major shake up was needed (74%) – I couldn’t agree further. Also I found training to be a peer reviewer was an interesting idea and should be mandatory. No surprises that people reviewing high ranking journals are more likely to accept manuscripts and spend more time on them. I also find it strange that scientists find the idea of being paid to review articles weird – why should the companies simply get to profit off the authors and the readers without giving any of it back to the community? I guess that unfortunately the consequences of doing so are likely to lead to increased publication costs which would be annoying.