Saturday, December 25, 2004

money changes everything*

I spend way too much of my time doing peer reviews for someone who is untenured.  I am on the editorial board of ASR and a contributing editor for AJS**, responsibilities that I accepted in part because I thought that doing both would force me to decline doing any other reviews.  Here I am this evening, however, reviewing a grant proposal for one of the government agencies that funds social science research.

Before I began reviewing grants, an empirical regularity I had noticed with puzzlement was that reviewers on grants seem much more unfriendly--even the course of providing what are ultimately positive reviews--than reviewers on articles.  Now I totally understand it.  I mean, I suppose one can get all worked up when doing a review with the thought that, "This section is pretty sloppy for somebody who thinks this paper deserves 20 pages in A Leading Journal."  But it's way easier to feel terse-n-surly from the thought that "This section is pretty sloppy for somebody who thinks this proposal deserves a quarter of a million dollars."

* Also the title of what is, incidentally but inarguably, the best song in Cyndi Lauper's underappreciated oeuvre.

** Oops, I lapsed into Assumed Sociology Acronyms, and this is supposed to be public (pub-lish?) sociology here. ASR = American Sociological Review, AJS = American Journal of Sociology.

(originally guest-posted to Pub Sociology)

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