While in graduate school I helped my PI review a couple of papers, but informally. This usually involved me reading the manuscript and then discussing my criticisms with her. What she did with them, I have no idea. Now, Magnum PI wants me to review a paper. He is going to review this one with me, but after that I am pretty much on my own.
He sent me the abstract of the paper today and from that alone I could find some obvious problems with the experiments. Another thing that was abundantly clear upon reading the abstract was that English is not the native language of the authors. In fact, some parts were so poorly written that I had to make assumptions about what the authors were saying. This brings me to my question:
How much does a reviewer get involved with the writing?
For my own papers, I've seen reviewers correct the random spelling or grammatical error, but I have a feeling this paper is going go way beyond this. If I am confronted with sentence after sentence of bad grammar and spelling, as in the abstract, what should I do? Where do you draw the line? The journalist in me wants to correct everything, but obviously I don't have time to rewrite a paper and that is probably not a reviewer’s job.
If there is a limit to how much spelling and grammar a reviewer should correct, does the quality or the science influence this limit?
Anyone care to put in his or her two cents on this one?