My favourite review (now, with the benefit of hindsight), is a paper that estimated abundance of pelagic sharks in continental shelf waters of British Columbia, Canada. One review was great. The other reviewer obviously wasn’t familiar with the statistics underlying line transect surveys, but rather than admitting that, s/he wrote, “How do you know that you didn’t just see one shark over and over again?” So, our shark would have to have been hovering a mile ahead of us, anticipating where our next (randomly selected) trackline would take us, and speeding up ahead to be seen again, repeating the process 100 times. Like Jaws, but this time hell-bent on being seen, not extracting revenge. But, one bad review meant that the paper was rejected. Fortunately, we told the editor how silly this concern was, and the paper was accepted after revision.
Rob sent a link along to the paper he’s talking about, and you can find it here. I was so amused by the idea of a super-troll shark racing around in an effort to subvert the scientific process that I googled “Sneaky Shark”, with predictable results.
I’d like to thank Rob for sending in the first reader-submitted Rejection Watch! I already have another ready to go, I’ve been promised that one is incoming in the next few days, and I’m also collecting the short rejection blurbs I’ve gotten on Twitter for the first special Twitter edition of Rejection Watch coming soon (thanks @hylopsar for suggesting it). So, email me your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you’ve only got 140 characters in you tweet me @BehavEcology and we’ll share the pain of rejection together.