Along with my blogging, I've been way behind on my blog reading and just finished reading a "recent" post by Dr. Jekyll and Mrs Hyde about a paper she just had soft rejected. What caught my attention was the following statement: "I sort of wish that GradAdvisor would call the editor for a chat, just to get more information (did the normal reviewers vote for revise/resubmit? were there other comments we should be aware of? does the editor realize how insane a few of Crazy Reviewer's comments were?) but that doesn't seem to be the plan."
Whoa. Can we do that? Can we call up editors and ask WTF? I mean, I've joked about calling up editors and suggesting they send an ambulance to Reviewer 1's office because their review is a clear diagnostic of a brain aneurysm, but I never thought about seriously contacting them. This is totally news to me, so I really am asking if that's legit. And if so, is this a biomed/cell/molec thing? Do you need to be "friends" with the editor? Is this only a viable route for serious bigwigs? My advisor was a serious bigwig and not once in all my years did he ever do such a thing - for anyone, not even himself. Now, he is also not good at "playing the game" or whatever you want to call it. I don't think I've ever seen him wield whatever Jedi power is bestowed on bigwigs. (I have to admit while I suspect this has hampered his career in some ways, it has also given me some hope that serious science skills alone can get you pretty damn far). So, perhaps he's not a good indication of whether or not this is acceptable in my field.
But now that the possibility presents itself, my head is full of conversations I could have. Questions I've been burning to ask, like: Do you seriously want me to revise in the light of reviewer 1's wackaloon belief that a core concept in my field - that has been tested and used for decades and frequently published on in the Glamour Magz - doesn't actually exist ? Or do you secretly want me to knee cap this deluded jackass in my reviewer response, causing you to hail me as your intellectual hero? Inquiring minds want to know....
EDIT: Whoops, forgot to link to DJMH's post, which is here