AUSTIN (RPT) - Despite recent criticisms of the peer review process, a new study has found that the act of reviewing papers provides significant psychological benefits for professors. “Many people think it’s a drag to be a reviewer for a journal, but it turns out that it’s actually psychologically really good for you,” the first author of the paper told RPT. The study found that professors who reviewed papers regularly felt more important and self-righteous than those who reviewed less regularly. These psychological benefits translated into greater resilience in the face of shitty reviews of their own papers.
“People just don’t listen to professors anymore,” said the senior author of this study, “and so when they get the chance to review somebody’s paper, it gives them a chance to really feel heard. And if they don’t feel heard, they get the satisfaction of rejecting the paper in subsequent rounds of review. This is deeply healing for professors who otherwise feel like the world is ignoring them.” The study also found that people who reviewed a greater number of papers were more likely to report delusions of grandeur. “I’m not sure ‘hero’ is the right word,” said one professor who reviewed 172 papers in 2019. “But if you’re asking if I had to rank myself in terms of my contribution to the world, I’d say I’m somewhere between Susan B. Anthony and Jesus.”
A researcher not associated with this study cautioned that the current findings are purely correlational, “there is no evidence that more reviewing causes these psychological benefits - and plus the authors didn’t even mention that the professors who had the greatest psychological benefits were the ones giving the shittiest reviews to everyone else.” The study was funded by the new National Institute of Magical Solutions under their new initiative for the Post-hoc Justification of Outdated Practices.