Thought on Reviewing: Will this paper get cited?

At the recent Fall AGU Meeting, I had many conversations with colleagues about the journal. A recurrent theme in these discussions is the need to revise the review process to bolster the thoroughness and consistency of the reviews. One friend suggested these questions as part of the referee’s evaluation of a manuscript:

  • Would you invite the author to present this material at a seminar or meeting session, if you organize one in the next year?
  • Will the paper be cited by someone other than the authors in the next year?
  • Will a proposal in the next year by someone other than the authors use this paper to justify their proposed research?

My view on these questions: I think that these are excellent, but I have concerns about their implementation and the ability of a referee to veto publication with a less-than-enthusiastic response to any of them. To me, a yes-no binary response is not adequate; a five-level Likert scale would be preferable, as well as a paragraph explaining your answer.

What do you think? Should they be suggestions or mandates for the reviewer to consider? Should a resounding “yes” be a litmus test for publication?

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