A colleague once remarked that, past a certain point in one’s career, one could easily spend all of one’s time just reviewing other people’s papers. Truer words have seldom been spoken.
There are several venues where I like to publish and, as a rule, I will accept referral requests from them as long as the manuscripts are within my expertise. I consider it my duty to give back what I expect others to do for my papers. I have long ago stopped reviewing papers from journals I don’t submit to. I know someone has to review for them too, but I simply don’t have the time.
Even so, I always have something waiting in my mailbox. I was down to one referral and was looking forward to having a clear “Papers to Review/Pending” email folder early in the coming week. Then, within three days, I received the following requests that I couldn’t really refuse:
1) A request from a journal where I occasionally publish, for a paper that is well within my expertise and where I know and understand the authors’s work really well.
2) A request from a Reputable Society Journal where I publish very often and from an editor with whom I interact a lot, as he is also the editor on many of my papers by virtue of being the one in charge of that particular topic.
3) A referral from the journal where I am an associate editor. The associate editor making the referral is a senior colleague whom I know and respect and who has been very supportive of my career. The paper is a little more abstract than the average submission, so I can see why he sent it to me and understand he may not have a huge pool of people who could review it.
4) A referral from a journal in which I publish infrequently, but the associate editor is a peer and a friend.
So within 3 days I went from almost having a break from refereeing to now having 5 papers in the queue… I am hoping there will be at least be some karmic brownie points in all this for me, because otherwise I suspect I may be a sucker.