Things that frost my shorts - reviewing grants edition

Jan 27 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

Doc Becca tweeted:

which set off a discussion of review papers, etc (again).

But, my current irritation with the sods who write grants is not so much the number of cites. Nor is it a total failure to cite me. Because, in fact they did. In a most infuriating way. The following is a paraphrase, and I hope, non-specific enough not to be violating confidentiality.

No one has worked on X, and as a result, understands problem Y, for which data from X are necessary (except see [154]).

Well, cite [154] is one paper of a series of about 20 that I did lo those many years ago. I'm not first author - the student was, and students are the first authors on all (I think) of the 20 papers.  We (my students and I) solved X pretty thoroughly before many of you were born. Not all aspects, and lots of interesting parts remain unsolved, and I changed fields because. But the fundamental problem of X has been worked on, even if you don't like what my students and I found. One may take it and run from there, but as it stands, what is proposed is significantly duplication. I don't object to the duplication, but I suspect these guys would not be getting a major grant to do so.

I am considering recusing myself from the review. I try to  never to cite myself in anonymous reviews. I do not want to be the reviewer who sniffs and says "this paper neglects the most important thing ever done since eukaryotes invented sex". I do not know the PI's. I do not want to know the PI's. I do not want to tell them that their mastery of the literature leaves a great deal to be desired.

It must be scotch o'clock somewhere.


7 responses so far

  • Drugmonkey says:

    Hell no you don't recuse yourself! Mess em uppe!

  • qaz says:

    It's important that these kids know the literature. (Or if they do and are ignoring it, that's worse.). How will we ever build anything if we only keep laying new cornerstones? Science builds on the past. Make 'em cite you and build on your work.

    I'm with DM. Sounds like you're the most-qualified reviewer. Hold their feet to the fire!

  • Established PI says:

    Take a deep breath, go for a run, and then write a dispassionate review explaining the applicant's gap in knowledge of prior literature. It isn't personal. This may be an honest, albeit inexcusable oversight and you should just point it out.

    • potnia theron says:

      mm.... running is no longer in my pathetic-blue-hair repertoire. But I'll go throw some dumbbells around the weight room.

  • odyssey says:

    Take 'em to school. They deserve it.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Also tell em to stop using numbered citations.

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