Contradicting Yourself

I’m re-writing my A1….. to be an A2.  So- I’ve been holed up writing the response to previous review. I’m grumpy… and I just thought I’d show you an example of what I’m irritated by.

Reviewer #1 sez:

Moreover, there is little support for the contention that in fact any truly novel new factors will be identified.

Ya, ok, you can disagree with me…but here’s the maddening thing.. In the same pink sheets- the following statement appears:

In addition, the applicant has already identified some novel factors (>20). What approach will be used to understand what these do?

Yup. You guessed it. The same reviewer that wrote that first statement, wrote that second statement. And- in the summary statement they appeared together like this:

Moreover, there is little support for the contention that in fact any truly novel new factors will be identified. In addition, the applicant has already identified some novel factors (>20). What approach will be used to understand what these do?

Just shoot me now.

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11 thoughts on “Contradicting Yourself

  1. Academic- Well… if I eliminate this reviewer… then I’m going to have to deal with a whole lot of new criticism that may be harder to rebut. He/She made this criticism pretty freaking easy to rebut. That’s the silver lining when reviewers write shit down without thinking about it.

  2. What approach will be used to understand what these do?

    This is the key sentence. Identifying new factors is descriptive (bad: meaningless actually, from the reviewer’s perspective). Figuring out what they do is mechanistic (good). The reviewer is saying you’re wasting your time discovering these new factors because you’ll never be able to figure out what they are doing. The best refutation is to take one of the 20 new factors you’ve identified, and show you can characterize it mechanistically (and preferably publish this characterization). Then your grant is easy: I’m going to characterize these other 19 factors I’ve already identified and determine their roles in the process, just like I proved I could do for the first new factor.

  3. whimple’s interpretation is interesting, and one of the reasons why we have to have other people read and interpret these statements for us. That is, “What is the reviewer really trying to say?”

    (On the other hand, sometimes, the reviewer is really trying to say something you can’t answer — like, I think this field of study is boring boring boring, and I’m never going to change my mind. And sometimes, they just decided who they were going to give grants to and came up with random stuff to say about the others).

    But, sometimes, they’re trying to tell us something we don’t understand.

  4. if we wait to shoot doubledoc, then we’ll need to shoot ourselves to avoid the misery of waiting to shoot doubledoc!

    what whimple said… dumbass reviewers leave you a trucksized hole to run through.

  5. I love contradictory statements in reviews. At least you have some idea what to make of yours. I have no idea what to make of my NRSA feedback:

    1. Your research proposal does not build upon the knowledge already developed in your laboratory.
    2. Your research proposal too closely mimics what has already been done by your laboratory.

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