Peer reviewer

A peer reviewer is someone who evaluates a scholarly or academic work, such as a research paper, book, or grant proposal, to ensure that it meets certain standards of quality and accuracy.

Peer review is a critical part of the academic publishing process, and is typically used to ensure that new research is credible, accurate, and contributes meaningfully to the field.

Peer review helps to ensure the quality and integrity of academic research, and it can also help to identify potential areas for future research or collaboration. Being a peer reviewer is an important responsibility, as it helps to maintain the standards of academic publishing and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in a given field.

A more complete and fair method of recognizing the contribution of a reviewer to the final version of the article, would be to list them in the article, which would require open peer reviews. Journals and indexers can organize systems to provide public recognition to open reviewers, but more educational efforts are required to change the mind of those defending the old-fashioned blind and double-blind peer review processes 1) 2).

Toward authors, editors, and readers.

They have to provide some measure of “quality control” for published research using a fair and transparent critical assessment of the research 3).

They can detect bias, unsatisfactory study design, and ethical problems that may threaten the research, and provide feedback to the authors.

The critical assessment of the evidence and validity of the scientific publication enables the editor to accept, reject, or revise the manuscript, minimizing the authors’ complaints if the paper is rejected. Even in those cases, the appropriate revision gives the author the chance to reorganize the article to resubmit it to another journal 4).

Challenges of the peer review process are:

1) the increasing need for reviewers due to an increasing number of peer-review requests, because promotions are obtained based on the number of publications or “publish or perish” syndrome and due to various online and hard copy publishers 5)

Most journal reviewers acquire the skills and knowledge to perform a manuscript review through their clinical expertise and their own experience in critically appraising the literature. If an individual performs an inadequate review, it is likely that his or her service will not be requested again. Sometimes an inadequate review is not the reviewer’s fault, but is due to insufficient formal training provided by the journals to establish standard methods to analyze the manuscript, or due to lack of information. Even if the reviewers analyze the manuscript as though they themselves were submitting it, sometimes there is a lack of a comprehensive set of guidelines for all aspects of the review process, leading to an unsupported decision 6).

To minimize this problem, the art of reviewing manuscripts should follow systematic scientific methods to enhance the quality and reduce the time spent on this practice. Systematic guidance minimizes the revision errors while the reviewers improve their practice 7).

A confusing or uninformative critique is not helpful to either the authors or the editor. If the reviewer disputes a point made by the authors, he or she should provide explicit justification for his or her argument. A critical justication for the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript depends not only on the clinical expertise in a given subject area and the time available for the review but also on the use of standard guidelines during the revision process. Without a standard and systematic revision, there is a risk of missing important parts of the manuscript. The consequence can be a supecial review, with no real justification and support for the editor’s decision.

The reviewers can promote a general evaluation of the proposed research question by using the FINER criteria: Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical, and Relevant 8).

They must verify closely the research question or objective (aim) of the study because it is the most important part of the entire project. All the components of the study are strictly structured based on a clinical question:

Type of study

Methodology applied

Population studied

Sample size calculation

Time available



Instruments or questionnaire to measure the primary and secondary outcome or endpoint , and implementing the work.

The questions that need to be answered by the reviewers are the following:

1) Is there a clear, focused, and answerable study question

2) Is the study question innovative or relevant

3) Does the manuscript present an updated literature

4) Has the question already been answered in the literature

5) Does the study have the potential to advance scientific knowledge, influence clinical management and health policy, or provide some directions to future research

6) Does it matter

7) What relevant information will the study add to the literature

8) Is the paper clearly written and well organized?.

see Introduction.

see Methods

The reviewers can promote a general evaluation of the proposed research question by using the FINER criteria.

Sometimes it is necessary for the reviewer to suggest that the author revise the manuscript to add more information about previous experience with the new technique, learning curve of the procedure, previous training, new devices and equipment necessary to the procedure, etc. This provides valuable information about limitations and strengths when the reader decides to reproduce the study in his or her own facilities. For instance, the positive efficacy of a procedure or a drug means that they work under ideal conditions, but this does not give us an answer as to whether the drug or treatment is effective or not in the real world.

The questions to be answered by the reviewers are:

1) does the study evaluate efficacy or effectiveness of a technique or product

2) is there enough information to reproduce the study elsewhere

3) are the limitations and strengths of the study well designed

4) are the results applicable, easy to implement, and can they probably modify the evolution of diseases

5) can the reader generalize this study to his or her everyday work and their own patients

6) will the results improve patient care? 9).

Wicherts JM. Peer review quality and transparency of the peer-review process in open access and subscription journals. PLoS One. 2016;11(1):e0147913. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147913.
Transparency in peer review. Nat Hum Behav. 2019;3(12):1237. doi: 10.1038/s41562-019-0799-8.
Scott-Lichter D, Editorial Policy Committee Council of Science Editors: CSE’s White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications, 2012 Update. 3rd Revised Edition. Wheat Ridge, CO: Council of Science Editors, 2012 ( uploads/entire_whitepaper.pdf) [Accessed June 23, 2017]
Falavigna A, De Faoite D, Blauth M, Kates SL: Basic steps to writing a paper: practice makes perfect. Bangkok Med J 13:114–119, 2017
Shen C, Björk BC: ‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics. BMC Med 13:230, 2015
Kehr P: Editorial. A new direction for EJOST! Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol 24:1329, 2014
Haynes RB: Clinical review articles. BMJ 304:330–331, 1992
Cummings SR, Browner WS, Hulley SB: Conceiving the research question, in Hulley SB, Cummings SR, Browner WS, et al (eds): Designing Clinical Research: An Epidemiologic Approach, ed 2. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001, pp 17–23
Falavigna A, Blauth M, Kates SL. Critical review of a scientific manuscript: a practical guide for reviewers. J Neurosurg. 2018 Jan;128(1):312-321. doi: 10.3171/2017.5.JNS17809. Epub 2017 Oct 20. PubMed PMID: 29053077.
  • peer_reviewer.txt
  • Last modified: 2023/03/07 20:01
  • by administrador