Ian Holmes, MD, from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, offers advice to new reviewers after participating in GIE’s Reviewer Mentorship Program.
Why do you feel peer review is an important skill in your career?
Serving as a peer reviewer is a great way to stay on top of the literature and get exposed to new techniques. Articles are submitted to GIE from all over the world, so you are almost guaranteed to hear about some new endoscopic procedure that is not performed at your hospital yet. Being a reviewer will give you an appreciation of the wide variety of endoscopic approaches available and will make your own practice more nuanced.
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?
A good peer review takes time. Usually, 3 hours or more are needed for a thorough review. Early on, consider making a worksheet with key aspects of each section (abstract, methods and materials, results, etc) to make sure that your evaluation of the manuscript is complete. Consider using Hernandez LV, Gerson LB. A guideline for reviewing a clinical research paper. Gastrointest Endosc 2015; 82(2):233-6 as a starting point. Investing some time in a worksheet up front will make your review more focused and efficient in the long run.
Any advice for future mentees on how to get the most out of the GIE Peer Review Mentorship Program?
Focus on the literature review as a learning opportunity. Even if you reject an article, it is a chance to become an expert in that area. After you read through the manuscript, review the article’s key references and do a search of your own to see if there is anything that they missed. You’ll rapidly develop a strong knowledge base on the topic at hand.