Unpacking the Peer-Review Process

12:30 pm – 2:30 pm     |     General: $25     Students: $15
Contact: Janet Nestlerode 
Panelists:  Charles SimenstadPaul Montagna, Kate Lajtha, and Robert Howarth


The peer-review is an integral part of our scientific research process. Journals rely on objective reviews by knowledgeable researchers to ensure the quality of the papers that are published. Through presentations by journal editors and experienced peer-reviewers, this workshop will provide an overview of the elements of an effective peer review to help participants improve their own peer-reviewing experience and skills. Topics to be covered will include:  the peer review process and the critical role the reviewer plays, ethical responsibilities of reviewers, and expectations of reviewers from editorial boards. Conflict of interest, determining appropriate expertise, associate editor-reviewer interactions, scope of reviewer commentary provided to guide the revision of the paper, and the shared responsibility for contributing to peer review will also be discussed. Discussions will also cover the broader scientific review process that we as professional scientists are often called upon to perform within a variety of contexts, including non-anonymous reviews, technical or programmatic reviews, and proposal reviewing. Emphasis will be placed on how to improve the peer review process, what makes a useful review for an editor, and what common practices complicate the editorial process. Participants will gain insight into the entire peer review process that may facilitate producing constructive, informative and balanced reviews.

This workshop will also help participants improve their critical thinking skills associated with the reviewing process, and in turn, garner helpful tips on improving their own manuscript submissions and become better scientists. All career levels are highly encouraged to participate and will benefit from a discussion of speed, quality and appropriateness of invited reviews. The workshop will be a proactive step toward mitigating bad reviewing habits and can help to improve the integrity and transparency of the peer review process for all involved. Presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer period and panel discussions. 

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