Olaya Brewer Gutierrez, MD
Advance Endoscopy/Motility Fellow
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
1) Why do you feel peer review is an important skill in your career?
Publishing original scientific work is key for science development. Peer review is essential to assure high-quality scientific data and provide credibility within our field. It keeps me updated on new advances and techniques within my area of expertise. Contributing to science fulfills my goals and expectations.
2) Time management (work-life balance) is key to successful peer review. Can you give specific tips on how you schedule your time for peer review, from the time you get invited to the time you complete your task?
- I always take the peer-review process seriously, and after committing to an assignment I know I have 14 days until the due date, so I can organize my time.
- I try to finish my assignments before the due date in order to respect the editor’s and author’s time and, therefore, avoiding a delay on the review process.
- I organize my schedule, including family and work, and dedicate about 1-2 hours at a time to the process.
- The review process usually will not take more than 2-3 days. If participating in a mentee-mentor program, the process will take more time because the mentor will review your analysis and recommendations.
3) Any tips on how to efficiently approach a paper?
When doing peer review for the first time, read tips from people who do this on a regular basis. Some journals have guidelines on peer review as well.
- The first step I personally take when reviewing an article is to search for similar literature, if available, to get a background on what is already published in that specific subject.
- I like to print the article I am reviewing to have a physical copy. I read the entire article once to understand what the aims of the study are.
- I will then read it again, and using any highlighter, I mark any typos, grammatical errors, confusing paragraphs, or any sentence that is confusing or needs rephrasing.
- Then I will assess each section separately.
- Regarding the statistical analysis, I make sure that the model the authors are presenting is appropriate for the stated hypothesis or objectives. When I do not understand the statistical model, I will search in the literature for answers.
- Use the suggested template of the journal for your recommendations.
- When making the recommendations, I always start with a summary of the study, including aims, main results, and conclusions. Then I always breakdown my comments into “major comments” and “minor comments.”
- When making any recommendation, always be cordial to the authors and make constructive comments.
4) Any advice for future mentees on how to get the most out the GIE Peer Review Mentorship Program?
- Think of the mentee-mentor program as a valuable opportunity to learn how to efficiently review an article.
- Always involve your mentor in the process, with time before the due date. Do not involve your mentor near the due date because it will also take time for the mentor to review the article and your peer-review recommendations.
- I usually do the review initially by myself and when finished, I send it to my mentor with the original article. I include all my questions and concerns in the same file.
- I always schedule a conference call or in-person meeting with my mentor, when feasible, to discuss the study, findings, and my recommendations.
- Once the process is finalized, the editors will send you the final decision on the manuscript and a score on your review process. Make sure to share this feedback with your mentor.
If you are interested in becoming a reviewer for GIE, please contact the editorial office at firstname.lastname@example.org.