Thursday, April 11, 2013

testing my patience

I really can get annoyed when I review papers and I get the impression that the authors have been sloppy in their writing and force me now to dig through all the typos and unfinished sentences to understand if the science is good. Usually this really frustrates me, because it takes so much more time and patience to read such a paper than it would be if someone would have done just a proper proof reading. Even a typo check in Word would sometimes really help or one more iteration with a colleague who really cares. And I'm not even a native speaker and don't pick up most of the style issues and "accent" based wordings, but stuff like this usually drives me nuts.
And now I have this grant proposal to review. My plan for this years reviewing round was to set all the style things aside and just focus on the science. Not get annoyed about stuff that the proposal actually isn't about. And on the first glance the paper was structured well: not too much text, nice paragraphs, nothing to complain about. And the science is interesting and fancy and bold and so far I think it should be funded. 
But then there are two things I find really hard to overlook while reading and judging this proposal: first is, that the whole vibe of the proposal is close to arrogant. You have to sell yourself, of course, but this group just appears so overly self-confident, it just drips from every line. Akh! And this whole vibe jumps totally in your face when you come to realize that they copied and pasted whole paragraphs to use them in several spots of their proposal. Most of the researchers applying for funding spend so much time to have a really good proposal and they go through several iterations to get everything as close to perfect as possible. And this group didn't even bother spending time to re-word a few paragraphs and adapt them properly to the specific sections. Akh! If I could suggest to fund the science without funding this group, I totally would at the moment.

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