My tweets from a talk on peer review by UW’s Fred Rivara, MD, MPH

August 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
1:01 PM

Does doing reviews help you get promoted? Not really, Rivara says, but quality reviews help you get onto editorial boards, which DOES count.
12:58 PM

Rivara notes the problem of PIs who don’t do their share of reviews, but stops short of recommending PubCreds solution by @DynamicEcology.
12:55 PM

Rivara: “People who write the best book chapters aren’t my age. People my age just recycle what they’ve already written.”
12:52 PM

Rivara closes with a quote from Ziman (1968): “The referee is the lynchpin about which the whole business of science is pivoted.”
12:44 PM

@NIHforHealth Early Career Reviewer program trains young scientists in peer review. http://public.csr.nih.gov/ReviewerResources/BecomeAReviewer/Pages/Overview-of-ECR-program.aspx
12:43 PM

NIH grant review criteria: overall impact, significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, environment.
12:40 PM

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
12:39 PM

Reviewing results sections: are figures and tables used effectively to tell the story? Discussion: are conclusions justified by the data?
12:35 PM

Brevity of articles is important, says Fred Rivara. The 1953 Watson & Crick Nature paper on DNA structure was 1 page!
12:32 PM

Why be a reviewer? Makes you a better scientist; helps develop your rep; leads to other national positions; a duty of scientific community.
12:30 PM

How do journals select reviewers? Author recommendations, journal database, editors’ contacts, reference lists, paid statistical reviewers.
12:27 PM

Ethics of reviewing: treat work confidentially; respect the intellectual property; tell editor if you had help with a review; disclose COIs.
12:24 PM

Journals have their own copy editors, so there’s no need for reviewers to correct spelling, etc.
12:21 PM

What’s NOT a reviewer’s role? Decide on acceptance/rejection; copyedit; be mean; nitpick; tell authors how they should have done the study.
12:20 PM

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/
12:17 PM

Richard Smith’s problems of peer review: a lottery; a black box; “ineffective”; slow; expensive?; biased; easily abused; can’t detect fraud.
12:14 PM

Peer review started around the 1940s. Before that a small group of editors at each journal did all the reviews themselves.
12:12 PM

Most journals rate the quality of the reviews they get back from reviewers: excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, don’t use.
12:10 PM

1st slide: “How journals work” — from submission to acceptance or rejection. His journal rejects ~50% of submissions without review!
12:08 PM

Sorry — Fred RIVARA, not Rivera. He’s editor in chief of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (JAMA Pediatrics).
12:05 PM

Today’s UW Biomedical Research Integrity talk: “The what, why and how of peer reviewing” by Fred Rivera, Depts. of Pediatrics & Epidemiology
12:02 PM


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