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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose and role of peer review in biomedical publishing.

  • Provide an overview of the peer review process.

  • Describe reasons to participate in peer review.

  • List three ways to identify peer review opportunities.

  • Describe the potential contents of a peer review resource file.

  • List three reasons to decline a peer review invitation.

  • Describe the elements of a three-read approach to performing peer review.

  • Discuss the most important aspects of a manuscript to assess during peer review.

  • Describe attributes of a manuscript that would support a publishing recommendation of accept, accept with revisions, and reject.

  • Describe the process for involving a learner in a peer review assignment.

KEY CONCEPTS

Key Concepts

  • image The peer review process helps to ensure that published articles fill a gap in the current literature, meet the aims and quality standards of the respective journal, and ethically report valid results based upon sound methodology.

  • image Despite its importance, the majority of health care professionals are never formally trained in performing peer review.

  • image Peer review is a critical evaluation of a manuscript that has been submitted for publication, performed by a content expert who serves as a neutral party between the publisher and manuscript author.

  • image Unless specifically requested by the editor, peer reviewers should not focus upon grammar, spelling, and punctuation, except if these aspects of the manuscript significantly interfere with comprehension of the manuscript.

  • image Insufficient knowledge of the manuscript topic is an important reason to consider declining a peer review invitation.

  • image A conflict of interest occurs in peer review when the reviewer’s private interests (i.e., competing interests) diverge from their responsibilities as a reviewer and either affect or could appear to affect their assessment of the manuscript.

  • image One of the most important things a reviewer can do is to assess whether the manuscript fills a needed gap in the body of literature, and advances knowledge in this area.

  • image When submitting comments to the author, it is important to maintain a constructive and professional tone. Comments should be objective, constructive, and actionable. The reviewer should also seek balance in comments, addressing positive aspects of the manuscript as well as areas for improvement.

  • image Many skilled practitioners with exceptional literature evaluation skills never participate in peer review because they lack an understanding of the process and fear that they are inadequate to participate in the process.

INTRODUCTION

Peer review is an important aspect of the publication process for biomedical journals. image The peer review process helps to ensure that published articles fill a gap in the current literature, meet the aims and quality standards of the respective journal, and ethically report valid results based upon sound methodology.1–3 Peer review also helps to refine and improve the manuscript prior to publication.1 Article submissions to biomedical journals far exceed publishing capacity, and the ...

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