MOTHER GOOSE AND THE SCIENTIFIC PEER REVIEW PROCESS.
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown.
And Jill came tumbling after.
First of all, we are not sure there’s enough clarity in this text. Scientific literature, in particular, should leave little room for confusion. Where exactly did Jack fall down? Into the well? A little ways down the hill? All the way down the hill? It’s just too vague. Worst still, we’re not convinced that the science conducted is of high enough caliber. I mean really, who would be stupid enough to put a well on the top of a hill? In conclusion, we feel that this manuscript should be rejected in its current state, but are not opposed to viewing a revised version in the near future.
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the sky so high.
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle twinkle little star.
How I wonder what you are.
Initially, we were quite intrigued by your work, especially since it appeared to contain several elements that merit genuine excitement. However, it was then brought to our attention that this body of work had remarkable similarities to a previously published report (The Alphabet Song). It was upon further investigation, that our worst fear was confirmed to be true – that this manuscript constitutes an act of plagiarism. We must state that we feel this to be a serious breach of scientific ethics, and must therefore strongly decline your manuscript.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men.
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Although otherwise promising, the reviewers felt that the research in its current state is incomplete. Quite frankly, it was agreed that your principle subject needed to be put back together again. Several of the reviewers suggested courting the expertise of a mathematician who could perhaps create an appropriate algorithm to solve this problem. Alternatively, one reviewer suggested glue. As a final note, questions were also raised regarding the treatment and well being of Mr. Dumpty. Why exactly was he made to sit on the wall? And why exactly would you allow horses (of all things) to put him together again. No matter, the reviewers overall impression was that if you were able to address each and every one of these issues, they would see no problem entertaining a revised version.
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed, to see such a sight.
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
The reviewers felt that not enough data was presented to support your claims. For example – how many times did your group observe the cow jumping over the moon? From the text and supporting figures, it would appear that you base this conclusion on one data point as no calculations regarding standard deviations were presented. As an analytical journal of high repute, the reviewers felt that this is simply not acceptable. In addition, several of the reviewers felt that the word ‘diddle’ was inappropriate, and should have been replaced by the more scientifically correct, ‘Hey fornicate fornicate.” Because of these, and other problems, we are sorry to inform you that your manuscript has not been accepted for publication.
And who do you think they’d be?
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.
Turn’em out, knaves all three.
Thank you most kindly for allowing us to see this marvelous manuscript. We feel that it is a great privilege that you and your colleagues decided to submit it to our journal. We truly feel that it represents seminal work that could even one day lead to a Nobel prize. To be frank, we were quite surprised to receive your submission, in that we all felt it could have easily been accepted by the more high profile publications (The Nature and Science journals for instance). In any event, we are very pleased to inform you that, we, the reviewers are unanimous in our decision to accept your manuscript.
(Originally published on August 22nd, 2005)