An email arrived from the convenors of the upcoming British Academy of Management conference a couple of days ago. It contained a request to review submissions from two different authors hoping to have their papers accepted onto the conference programme. The review process is a double-blind affair, meaning I don't know the author's identity and they don't know who reviewed their paper. My membership on the review panel is a consequence of submitting a paper myself. Submitters are asked to review other papers, which is fair enough.
I printed both of the papers today (I review documents the old fashioned way—with a pen in hand). On first glance, one of the papers appears to be well-written and the other less so. As I skimmed through the less well written paper (ahead of a comprehensive review in the next week or so), my mind wandered towards thoughts of quality, acceptance threshold and the reputation of the conference. Superficially, the paper is marginal in terms of acceptability. When I read the paper thoroughly, I must form an opinion about the paper: should it be rejected or should it be accepted albeit with robust feedback? Without wishing to preempt the review process, my instinct suggests the provision of robust feedback is probably the better choice, because it creates a learning opportunity. It's simple really. My paper is going through the same process. How would I like to be treated? Some carefully crafted statements will probably be required, so that any biases I might have in terms of the topic, the way the paper has been written, or from my first impressions are kept in check. Fortunately, I have a couple of weeks to complete the review and decide how to respond.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.