We have talked many a stunned author through insensitive or hostile feedback from self-important reviewers and journal editors. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a correlation between high journal ranking and subjective/eccentric language Stalinism.

One top-tier North American journal’s style guide:

  • is riddled with self-indulgent language preferences
  • is lazily and sloppily written
  • contains multiple errors and inconsistencies
  • lacks good examples and reference to any grammar principles or sources.

Among others, this editor literally “forbids” submitting authors from using the words it, there, we, our, and moreover. Have you ever tried describing methodology without a single use of we?

We do our best, no matter how strange the ‘rules’. We have assisted several authors to get papers accepted by this journal editor, so the joke’s on him.

Remember that not all reviewers are native English speakers, and what they sometimes think is an error may simply be a subjective preference based on limited knowledge.