Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
Peer Review: The Nuts & Bolts - April workshop
We held a peer review workshop for early career researchers on 25th April at King's College London.
Researchers took the opportunity to raise questions and queries about peer review before suggesting solutions to potential problems. The participants – early career researchers from diverse fields – then heard from a panel of editors who discussed issues of fraud, research misconduct, how to be a good reviewer and how to get your paper accepted.
The participants raised strengths and weaknesses of peer-review. For example, "It gives you chance to show your idea to an expert before you show the world but it can be slow" and "You can make your work better with peer review but the process can be confusing". Interestingly, anonymity was seen as a positive and a negative attribute of peer-review. The participants liked that they could be honest by reviewing anonymously. However, they worried that when they were the author, their reviewer might be overly critical if anonymous.
The panel gave tips on how to be a good reviewer: Be concise. Be clear. Be positive and give constructive suggestions. Be on time!
The panel gave tips on how to be a good author: Be humble and take advice. Be specific and submit to the correct journal. Be on time!
Following the panel session, the participants discussed the importance of explaining peer-review to the public. Victoria Murphy from Sense About Science then strengthened this message by sharing our public guide to miracle cures "I've got nothing to lose by trying it".
Over lunch, participants and panellists chatted further with the editors and each other on how they can get more involved in peer review.
To attend our next peer review workshop to be held at the University of St Andrews on 21st November, email Victoria Murphy.
Harriet Groom, a career development fellow at the MRC National Institute for Medical research where she studies virus-host interactions, wrote a blog for on Wiley Exchanges Peer review: fundamentals and the future
Fiona Russell a post doctoral researcher studying chronic pain, inflammation, and arthritis wrote a blog for BioMed Central: Should there be training for peer reviewers?
Siobhan Dennis, who works in drug discovery, wrote an article for Taylor & Francis' 'Understanding Peer Review' page: The malleable evolution of peer review
Mounir Adjrad, a post doctoral researcher in biomedical engineering and communications, wrote an article for Elsevier's Editor's Update: An author's experience of peer review
With thanks to our partners: BioMed Central, Elsevier, F1000 Research, MRC, PLOS, Sage, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and our host, King's College London
Top tip 1: Ask for Evidence. If you’re being sold a product or asked to believe a claim then you deserve to know whether it’s based on evidence – or imagination.
Top tip 2: Detox. It’s a marketing myth – our body does it without pricey potions and detox diets.
Top tip 3: Superfood. There is no such thing, just foods that are high in some nutrients.
Top tip 4: Cleansing. You shouldn’t be trying to cleanse anything other than your skin or hair.
Top tip 5: If it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.