Georgios Mavrogenis, MD, from the Department of Gastroenterology, Mediterraneo Hospital, Athens, Greece, offers advice to new reviewers after participating in GIE’s Reviewer Mentorship Program.
Giving feedback to a mentee can be difficult. How do you inspire young reviewers to do a good job?
I encourage them to detect the weaknesses and the strong points of each paper. Originality of the work, meticulous study design, and correct interpretation of the results are our top priorities. Our objective is to facilitate the work of the Editors to make a correct decision. Therefore, it is a great responsibility to accept or decline a submission, and each suggestion has to be thoroughly justified.
Time management (work-life balance) is key to successful peer review. Can you give specific tips to mentees on how you schedule your time for peer review, from the time you get invited to the time you complete your task?
My motto is do it as soon as possible! A fast turn-around is important for the efficacy of the peer-review process. Papers related to our field and case reports are easier to evaluate, and in less than 3 hours we can make a good review. For more complex papers, read the abstract the day that you receive the invitation and start thinking of what you should check out while evaluating the article. Write down your thoughts and spend 30 minutes every day for 3-5 days. Do not wait 14 days to evaluate a paper.
Please give tips on how you approach a manuscript submission and your principles on when to accept or reject a paper.
My initial approach is to check the originality of the work and to ask myself whether I would like to see this paper published in GIE/VideoGIE. I search in both PubMed and Scopus to have an idea of what is known on that particular subject. Then I check the design of the study. Most weaknesses are found in the methodology. Then I move to the interpretation of the results and finally to the discussion. If there are no major concerns about the quality of the paper, I further move to the details including the tables, figures, and references. For papers that are not in my area of interest or for difficult statistics, I seek for help. For VideoGIE reviews, I additionally evaluate the quality of the video and the way it was produced, including the quality of the narration, the clarity of the video, and the video effects used during the transition of the images/clips. Finally, when writing my review, I summarize the message of the study, I state whether it should be published or not, and then I attach a list of major and minor remarks. I try to be polite and avoid statements that may insult or disappoint the author(s). When the Editor-in-Chief makes his final decision, I read carefully what the other reviewers commented. At that point, I evaluate whether my review was of good quality or not, and I try to learn from the work of the other reviewers.