Peer reviewers should strive for kindness in their reviews: Editorial

In a recent editorial for The Conversation, five authors discuss the challenges researchers face when receiving feedback during peer reviews and call for more kindness in the process. Catherine Clase (McMaster University), Josee Bouchard (Université de Montréal), Manish M Sood (University of Ottawa), Rachel Holden (Queen’s University), and Sunny Hartwig (University of Prince Edward Island) argue that peer review can and should be made kinder, with reviews that provide accurate and robust feedback while avoiding patronizing and unkind language. The authors write that there is a power dynamic between those writing feedback and those receiving it, and that reviewers may confuse harshness with intellectual rigour. Those receiving the feedback may follow this pattern and perpetuate this kind of feedback in their own reviews. The authors recommend that journals “make a commitment to kindness in review” to improve the advice given by reviewers. The Conversation Note: Archived stories may contain dead links or be missing source links.

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