Reviewer profile: meet Jens Borken-Kleefeld

Jens Borken-Kleefeld

Jens Borken-Kleefeld works at the IIASA – International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg/Austria. He is a physicist with Master degrees in Theoretical and in Environmental Physics. He has specialised in environmental impact assessment particularly for transportation. This cover issues along the whole impact pathway chain. He has published on emission inventories in Europe, India and China, on air pollution and climate impact, on mitigation costs for transportation, and on policy analysis. click here for more information.

What do you enjoy most about being a reviewer?
The intellectual challenge to thoroughly understand the work submitted and how to help presenting it the best.

In the time that you've been a reviewer, what trends have you noticed?
It seems that manuscripts become longer. Manuscripts of 20 or more pages are quite time consuming and therefore this discourages me accepting to review. However, if they really cover a lot of ground they can be worth it.

How do you envision the role of the reviewer being different in the year 2020?
I would think the role of the reviewer is similar, namely the quality check, but why not assess the quality of reviews and reviewers?

What advice would you give to a new reviewer?
I’m not an old reviewer! I’m asking questions when reviewing: Do I feel competent and willing to spend the reviewing time upon the invitation? What is the possible relevance and originality of the paper? Are method, data, arguments and interpretation clear and logic? Any problems or potential for improvement?


What do you think people would find most surprising about your role as a reviewer?
As I advocate transparency also for the review process I hope nothing is surprising.

What would you change about the scientific journal publishing industry if you could?
If rejected papers are resubmitted, attach the original reviewer reports together with a letter explaining to what extent the new manuscript addresses the original reviews. Encourage and facilitate online commenting of manuscripts or papers. Reduce costs of journals and paper charges.

How do you balance your role as a reviewer with your other roles?
It’s a continuous adjustment of interests, priorities and time constraints. Aiming at perfection will not make life easier.

What is your favourite quote?
My favourites vary over time; one is from the artist Francis Picabia: “Our heads are round so that thoughts can change direction.”

What do you like to do for fun?
Cooking – and then dining with friends

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