Friends Like These

Three or four weeks ago a friend from grad school e-mailed to ask if I could help review papers for an upcoming conference. They mentioned specifically they had a paper they thought I would give good feedback on.

Now, I hate the conference they wanted help with in part because the group that needed review help has consistently showed limited vision and a narrow range of what's possible. I've consistently avoided the conference since my Master's program for just that reason. At the conference when I attended it, I watched people savage young academics for very (academically) political reasons, and in the subsequent papers I'd seen, reviewer comments inevitably fell along the same lines. So I've got plenty of reason to dislike the place.

But I tried to see the positive with this one. I was being asked to review by someone I know who I know is open to different approaches. I checked my schedule to figure out what I could do, and seeing that I had a little free time, replied that I could look at two papers maximum but that I'd be glad to do it.

You can all see where this is going, can't you?

Today I found a very thick envelope in my mailbox with well beyond the two papers I agreed I could review by the deadline.

This is what comes of trying to be nice.

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ash said...

my advice (seriously) is this: select two papers from the package. keep those and review them by the due date. contact your "friend" and ask them if they would prefer that you mail the others back to them or another reviewer.

April 22, 2008 at 8:38 AM