Refereeing for MDPI

7 08 2015

Maria and I have just had a strange experience refereeing for an MPDI journal. It was an accident, and my bad – I confused “Animal” (which seems really quite innovative) with “Animals“: a product of this dodgy publishing outfit.

So, first, the MS we refereed was just weird. For example, the authors ran lots of peculiar stats to compare variables they weren’t interested in, while in contrast “testing” their main hypothesis by comparing their current data with an old experiment and saying “see — the graphs look really pretty similar” (even though they didn’t always). They then concluded (species changed to hide their identity), “Because enrichment affected parrots in these larger cages in a similar way to how it did in our old study using smaller cages, cage size is unimportant to parrots”.

The strangeness of refereeing this involved in part the authors’ complete refusal to change anything (I found this quite shocking, since, as an author, my attitude to referees is basically total compliance unless you really disagree: yes, roll your eyes … but then show your belly, smile nicely, and get the thing published — only fighting when it really, really matters). But the other strange thing was the editor’s absolute determination to publish this, no matter what.

Only after three rounds of this nonsense did it dawn on me that — *duh, of course!* — rejecting a paper interferes with their business model! Not doing that again, that’s for sure.