Carolina Ogawa Matsubayashi, MD, Graduate Student, Weill Cornell Medicine Endoscopy, Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, offers advice to new reviewers after participating in GIE’s Reviewer Mentorship Program.
What 3 steps do you take as soon as you get invited to review?
The first thing I do is check my calendar and see my availability. Second, I check if I have any conflicts of interest with the manuscript, and then I evaluate if can provide a good review with the knowledge I have.
How long does it take you on average to review, and how do you find time to review?
Mostly around 8 to 10 hours, especially because English is not my native language, and I like to recheck what I wrote, but in the end, it depends on the content of the manuscript. It is easier when I am very familiar with the topic and if the manuscript is methodologically good and well written. Often, it is not easy to find time, but I guess it helps to establish a deadline to begin reading and for the first draft. I like to give some time between them because the first and second impressions of the manuscript usually are not the same. I’ve had cases where, initially, I would have accepted the paper with minor comments, but after a complete evaluation, I decided to reject and vice-versa.
How did you feel transitioning from a mentee to an independent reviewer?
In the beginning, I really missed sending my preliminary review to my mentor just to make sure I had not missed anything. However, the mentorship solidified my knowledge in some areas and gave me a lot of confidence in my work. Once in a while, I feel a little insecure in making a decision, but then I remember that other reviewers are also evaluating and will support or complement my analysis. Moreover, I always try to explain the rationale of my choice by writing a note to the editor, especially when I am in doubt of rejecting or giving a major revision. I believe that this may facilitate the editor’s decision.
Any advice to other young endoscopists in terms of peer review?
1. See if the research question and primary outcome are clearly stated.
2. Peer reviewing for a great journal is good, so you keep practicing and learning research while updating your knowledge in your area of interest.
3. Be kind and constructive to the authors. One day it is you judging an article and another is you being judged. Consider the incredible effort they put into researching and writing the article.