I got a request to referee a paper that I really could not turn down since I'm one of the few people who is qualified This may be reason enough to reject--- if very few people could referee it then perhaps the topic is too obscure. However, obsurity of research is not todays topic. Today's posting is a rant!!
The request to referee was an automatic email. I then had to do the following:
- Goto a website to accept.
- Receive an email telling me how to access the paper.
- Goto another website, click on something to receive another email telling me my password and login.
- Change my password to one that I could remember. This took a while since they didn't state their rules for passwords, nor did there error messages tell me what the rules were.
- Goto another website with that password and login and register by giving my name (gee, I think they would already have that), email (ditto), school address, areas of interest, key words of interest (that was really hard- it was a long list and nothing quite fit), my right thumb print, and my left eye retina scan.
- To get the paper itself the website kept on doing odd things. I called them (by telephone!) and the editor said that I was not being an idiot, the website had problems that day, and they would try to send me the paper, but they were not sure they could access it. I told them that if they did not get me the paper within 24 hours I would not referee it. They got it to me 23 hours 45 minutes later.
- I am looking forward to seeing if the website will be working when I fill in the referees report, which must be done on the web.
I do not think I'm being a luddite to complain about this. Being a luddite (different link) is not the topic of todays post. I do not think that electronic refereeing systems using the web are a bad idea. But electronic refereeing systems are not todays posting. Todays posting was a rant!.