Russian University Lovingly Erects Giant Concrete Monument to Peer Review

Image: HSE
Image: HSE

Life as an academic is hard, if you discount the summers off and the whole tenure thing. Assuming you’ve ever submitted a piece of research for publication, chances are you’ve had to go through the process of peer review—an often soul-crushing ordeal during which you and your ideas are metaphorically flayed by a jury of your peers.


So, to kill two birds with one stone, Russia’s Higher School of Economics officially revealed its newest addition today, a giant concrete cube featuring the five possible outcomes of peer review: accept, minor changes, major changes, revise and resubmit, and reject. (The birds, in this case, are “a winking tribute to the difficulties of this field” and “what the fuck do we do with this giant concrete block?”)

Image: HSE
Image: HSE

The idea sprang up after one of the university’s directors solicited suggestions for what to do with the school’s giant concrete block, which was apparently left over from World War II. HSE sociologist Igor Chirikov proposed a monument to peer review, and a Kickstarter was launched to raise money for the quirky idea.

“When I started working in academia I realized that there is an important role for peer reviewers, whose contribution is not always recognized,” Chirikov told the Nature’s news site. “At the same time, I feel for researchers—it’s hard to deal with rejection letters and, sometimes, nasty comments from reviewers.”

Bloggers may not have much in common with research academics, but I’m sure we can both identify with the concept of “nasty comments from reviewers.” Let’s just hope the block doesn’t become the new crying spot for rejected academics.



Sophie is a former news editor at Gizmodo.

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Life as an academic is hard, if you discount the summers off and the whole tenure thing.

It is jackass comments like this that continue the stereotype that everyone in the academic field took the easy road in life. That people that dedicate their lives to educating our future generations somehow don’t work as hard as the rest of us. I grew up watching my mother work all summer long preparing her lesson plans for the next school year, unpaid and on her own time. I have seen other teachers take more work home with them than any other career I know of outside of the medical field and Law practice.

Teachers and all those in the academic field are preparing and educating the next generation of humanity and deserve a little more goddamn respect than, “Must be nice being a Teacher. They get the summer off, lol.”

Tenure is a thing that exists in the school system because you have hossible parents with zero discipline for their child blame the Teachers when their children’s grades are bad.

Teacher: “If your child any of the work I gave them in class they would have at least a passing grade. But since they ignore my lessons and do none of the work I had to fail them.”

Parent: “Well I’m suing the school because I say my little sunshine is perfect and you just are terrible at your job.”