My tweets from a talk on peer review by UW’s Fred Rivara, MD, MPHAugust 13, 2012
Paper by @DynamicEcology: “Pubcreds: fixing the peer review process by ‘privatizing’ the reviewer commons.” http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/0012-9623-91.3.325
Does doing reviews help you get promoted? Not really, Rivara says, but quality reviews help you get onto editorial boards, which DOES count.
Rivara notes the problem of PIs who don’t do their share of reviews, but stops short of recommending PubCreds solution by @DynamicEcology.
Rivara: “People who write the best book chapters aren’t my age. People my age just recycle what they’ve already written.”
Rivara closes with a quote from Ziman (1968): “The referee is the lynchpin about which the whole business of science is pivoted.”
@NIHforHealth Early Career Reviewer program trains young scientists in peer review. http://public.csr.nih.gov/ReviewerResources/BecomeAReviewer/Pages/Overview-of-ECR-program.aspx
NIH grant review criteria: overall impact, significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, environment.
Discrepancies among reviewers were studied/reported in a 1993 Nature paper by E. Ernst, T. Saradeth, & K.L. Resch: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8497307
Reviewing results sections: are figures and tables used effectively to tell the story? Discussion: are conclusions justified by the data?
Brevity of articles is important, says Fred Rivara. The 1953 Watson & Crick Nature paper on DNA structure was 1 page!
Why be a reviewer? Makes you a better scientist; helps develop your rep; leads to other national positions; a duty of scientific community.
How do journals select reviewers? Author recommendations, journal database, editors’ contacts, reference lists, paid statistical reviewers.
Ethics of reviewing: treat work confidentially; respect the intellectual property; tell editor if you had help with a review; disclose COIs.
Journals have their own copy editors, so there’s no need for reviewers to correct spelling, etc.
What’s NOT a reviewer’s role? Decide on acceptance/rejection; copyedit; be mean; nitpick; tell authors how they should have done the study.
More on peer review as seen by Richard Smith (former editor of BMJ): http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2011/11/11/richard-smith-a-woeful-tale-of-the-uselessness-of-peer-review/
Richard Smith’s problems of peer review: a lottery; a black box; “ineffective”; slow; expensive?; biased; easily abused; can’t detect fraud.
Peer review started around the 1940s. Before that a small group of editors at each journal did all the reviews themselves.
Most journals rate the quality of the reviews they get back from reviewers: excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, don’t use.
1st slide: “How journals work” — from submission to acceptance or rejection. His journal rejects ~50% of submissions without review!
Sorry — Fred RIVARA, not Rivera. He’s editor in chief of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (JAMA Pediatrics).
Today’s UW Biomedical Research Integrity talk: “The what, why and how of peer reviewing” by Fred Rivera, Depts. of Pediatrics & Epidemiology