When should you notify an applicant of the poor quality of a reference letter?
January 10, 2012 4:04 PM Subscribe
Academic ethics question: under what circumstances should you notify an applicant of the poor quality of a reference letter?
posted by googly to Education (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You are a reviewer for a granting agency that awards postdoctoral fellowships. The PhD supervisor of Candidate X has provided a reference letter which, while very positive, is exceptionally shoddy and poorly written - e.g., serious grammatical errors in almost every sentence and atrocious writing in general. While a few typos are to be expected in any reference letter, this one is of such terrible quality that it is difficult to read and reflects negatively on the author, and thus on Candidate X. (You have no reason to believe that this is an ESL problem).
You have the option to provide comments to Candidate X. Do you mention the poor quality of the reference? If so, how?