Responding to Peer Review as an Early Career Scholar

Experience always counts irrespective of the field we belong to. However, experience comes with learning every new scholar at some point has to start handling the review process to proceed in his scientific endeavor.

  • Reading the reviews patiently and respond

The author is a master in his narrow topic. However, the reviewer has the broader experience and expertise therefore you should read in-depth reviews. If there are multiple reviewers then the comments of each reviewer should be balanced out. Also, the author should have a rational approach to understand whether the article is up to the mark to get published.

Emotionally you may not like the comments but nevertheless, you should not underestimate and try to understand the perspective of the reviewer.

Sometimes you’re and reviewer’s opinion may not match the article but don’t get upset, it’s a part of the publication journey. 

  • Celebrate the comments

Comments by reviewers are stepping stones towards successful publication. Sometimes we get a mail asking us to address the reviews and submit them back. This is an achievement as you have not been disqualified or have not faced desktop rejection. If you are getting comments means there is a scope that the article can be a part of the said journal. 

  • Compare the article and comments and then respond

The comments of reviewers can be minor ones that can be easily accommodated. Fix them up and write in the letter to the editor. However, there are some comments that you agree with the reviewer but shall take substantive time to execute. Please mention the changes in the manuscript (rewriting or additional content was added) that have been made. Minor stuff which you don’t agree with should also be part of the letter to the editor. Author those who disagree with the majority of reviewers’ comments should make a clear and authentic argument.

 Write back to the reviewer after you have revised the paper and addressed all the comments. Write clearly the changes you have made to address the reviews also highlight the positive comment of the author.

  • Resubmission

The ball is now in the court of the editor as they can compare the reviewed article with the original article relative to your response letter. The editor can also give the article to a new editor to check his opinion. We cannot control the review process except that we can give our best to address the reviews in a scientific, knowledgeable, and professional manner.

Understanding Open peer review

Peer review is a critical part of any publication in a respectable journal. However, the entire process of traditional peer review has always been criticized by the academic circle for various reasons. Some of the most common criticisms are:

  • Peer review is a subjective matter that can be both unreliable and inconsistent varying from reviewer to reviewer.
  • There are considerable delays and expenses involved in the entire process, which affect both journals and prospects of the authors.
  • There is a lack of accountability or transparency in the mechanism, leading to challenges of unscrupulous practices by a reviewer, who may choose to subvert publications that might challenge their professional interests.

In contrast to the traditional system of peer review, an alternative structure of open peer review has evolved that has been adopted by many journals today. There does not exist any definite structure to open peer review and there exist various models of open peer review. Some of the most popular forms of open peer review are:

Open Identity Peer review: Under open identity peer review the authors and reviewers are aware of each other’s identities. This is in sharp contrast to the conventional peer review system where either the author does not get to know the reviewer or both author and reviewer do not get to know each other’s identity. Open identity peer review supposedly (a) enhance accountability, further enable credit for peer reviewers, and simply make the system fairer (b) increase review quality, as a reviewer puts more effort into their reviews when their names are attached to them.

Open Reports: Under Open reports peer review, the review reports are published alongside the relevant article. This adds another layer of quality assurance, as the reviews are open to the scrutiny of the wider scientific community. Published reviews are recognition for the reviewer as well and can count in their academic records as well.

Open Participation: Open participation peer review, is a “crowdsourced peer review” that allows the wider community to contribute to the review process. Open participation is often used as a complement to a parallel process of solicited peer review and allows for wider access to reviewers who voluntarily contribute as part of enriching the academic discourse.

Open Interaction: Open interaction takes things a step further and is more like a blog format where the author, reviewer, and others can participate in an open conversation on the publication. Allowing interaction amongst authors and multiple reviewers enables a collaborative process to improve their publication.  This may be done in stages, like opening for comment before final publication.

Open peer review is still an evolving process with newer ideas being experimented. However, open peer review is not aimed to completely replace conventional peer review. This is just another form of reviewing for publication that is gaining favor amongst the academic community.

AI peer reviewers smoothen the publishing grind

Peer review by artificial intelligence (AI) is promising to improve the process, enhance the quality of published papers — and save reviewers time. A handful of academic publishers are driving AI tools to do anything from selecting reviewers to checking statistics and summarizing a paper’s findings. In June, software called StatReviewer adopted by Aries Systems verifies the statistics and methods used in the manuscripts. ScholarOne, another peer-review platform is teaming up with UNSILO of Aarhus, Denmark, which uses natural language processing and machine learning to analyze manuscripts. UNSILO automatically pulls out key concepts to summarize what the paper is about. These tools can make sure a manuscript is up to scratch, but in no way are they replacing what a reviewer would do in terms of evaluation.

Reference Link : https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07245-9

Preparing tables for research papers

How to effectively prepare tables for research papers

Tables and illustrations are important tools for efficiently communicating information and data contained in your research paper to the readers. They present complex results in a comprehensible and organized manner.

However, it is advisable to use tables and illustrations wisely so as to maximize the impact of your research.They should be organized in an easy-to-understand format to convey the information and findings collected in your research. The tabular information helps the reader identify the theme of the study more readily. Although data tables should be complete,they should not be too complex. Instead of including a large volume of data in a single unwieldy table, it is prudent to use small tables to help readers identify the important information easily.

Here are some points you should consider before drafting the tables in your research paper:

  • Finalize the results that are required to be presented in tabular form.
  • Include the data or results that are relevant to the main aim of the study without being choosy and including only those results that support your hypothesis.
  • Create each table in a lucid manner and style without cluttering it with in-table citations.
  • Number the tables in a sequence according to their occurrence in the text.
  • Don’t mix tables with figures. Maintain separate numbering systems for tables and figures.
  • Create tables in a storytelling manner. Remember that your tables communicate a story to the reader that runs parallel to the text.
  • If you are using or reproducing tables from other published articles, obtain permission from the copyright holder (usually the publisher) or/andacknowledge the source.
  • Do not repeat the tabular contents in the text again; that will create confusion among readers.
  • Use clear and informative text for each table title.
  • Take extra care while extending the data in your tables. If you have too many tables, consider using them as appendices or supplementary materials.
  • Create tables with sufficient spacing in the layout so that they do not look messy, crowded, or cluttered.
  • Do not forget to spell out abbreviations used in the tables, ideally in the footnotes.

For the reader, a research paper that is dense and text-heavy can be tiresome. Conversely, tables not only encapsulate your data lucidly, but also welcome a visual relief for the reader. They add value to the layout of your paper. Besides, and more importantly, reviewers often glance at your tabulated data and illustrations first before delving into the text. Therefore, tables can be the initial draw for a reviewer and deliver a positive impact about your research paper. If you can achieve an optimum balance among your text, tables, and illustrations, it can go a long way toward being published.

Writing a Book Review

Writing a book review is an extremely resourceful task that includes an extensive variety of skills. Writing a book review is not confined to certain disciplines as a wide range of subjects have book review tasks where the writer evaluates a book after carefully reading it entirely. While writing a book review, writers should incorporate some details about the chief aspects of the book, like character, plot, theme and setting. In order to write an effective book review, it is essential to have the reviewer’s outlook of how well the author has pursued in using those aspects.

The present article on “Writing a Book Review” provides some basic tips and information that every writer should follow in order to efficiently review a book.

Tips for Writing a Book Review

  • A book review specifically presents sufficient details to help the reader decide whether he/she needs to read the book.
  • In order to write an effective book review, the reviewer must first read the book intensely, which requires a thorough and careful attempt.
  • While writing a book review, the reviewer must have sufficient knowledge about the genre of the book, like whether it is a romance novel or historical, mystery and thriller or science fiction. Nonetheless, reviewers must also be considerate of the elements that involve great literature of this type.
  • While evaluating a book, try to find out the intention of the author. Take into account what the title and subtitle might mean. Collect notes, write down the favorite parts or quotes you think are weak, and then review every section.
  • Always try to do some background research. Gather information about the author. Explore the subject matter. Think about the possible subjects for the book. After conducting a sufficient amount of research work, you can prepare about writing the first draft of your review.
  • Review the book shortly in the first paragraph. Try a passage from the book and support it with a statement that explains why that note is distinctive or not distinctive. Comment on what you think the author’s intent was in writing the book and how well has he/she achieved this target.
  • Depending on how you start the book review, the rest of the part will be influenced by your choices. Nevertheless, the fundamental direction and focus of the piece goes from there.
  • Try to convey each of your views about your opening message with simplifications. Try to state how every of your illustrations make your point.
  • Ensure to provide transitions between paragraphs. Try to make your review mix together with views related to your subject matter.
  • Wind up your review using a paragraph or two that express your topic into ultimate focus for your reader. You might end up to a conclusion about the subject matter, the author’s intention, or about the overall efficiency of the book.
  • After writing a book review, always read them out loud and remove the discomfited phrases. Observe your notes for correctness and precision. Moreover, make sure that you have not updated your review with notes.
  • Try not to write the review unless you have analyzed the book intensely and completely.
  • Try not to make general comments about the book. In fact, you can use explicit quotations or examples.
  • Lastly, if possible, request a friend to appraise the review. As a matter of fact, fresh eyes can often catch mistakes in the review that you might have missed out.

By following the above given tips for writing a book review, one can easily learn to review a book without any major error or mistake. However, in order to be able to write a completely effective book review, thorough knowledge and practice is needed.