Tag Archives: review papers

When is a review paper worth writing?

A couple of things have me thinking about review papers lately.  First, I’ve just published one and I’m about to submit another.  Second, over at EcoEvoEvoEco, Andrew Hendry had some fun figuring out how his citation impact would have been improved had he only ever published review papers rather than primary-science ones.

As Andrew points out, writing reviews brings a lot of career benefits.  Among them:

  • They tend to be widely read and heavily cited
  • They build your reputation as an expert in the subfield you review
  • They draw attention to your primary-literature work (presuming your review cites it)
  • They support future grant proposals to fill knowledge gaps they identify.

So the case for review-writing as a career move is strong.  But what about the case for review-writing as a contribution to science?  Not all reviews move science forward much.  Continue reading