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How to Review a Paper How to Get your Work Published Professor Laurence J Egan Associate Editor, Gut.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Review a Paper How to Get your Work Published Professor Laurence J Egan Associate Editor, Gut."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Review a Paper How to Get your Work Published Professor Laurence J Egan Associate Editor, Gut

2 Things I will cover How to start out doing good research When and how to prepare your work for publication The review process Some specific tips


4 Getting Started The 3 most important things in developing a career in biomedical investigation –Choose the right mentor

5 Why is the mentor important? Scientific creativity has to be learned Networking Access to funds Interest in developing people

6 Attributes of a good mentor Track record of steady productivity Every student/post doc in group publishes first author papers Every student/post doc in group publishes middle author papers Upward trajectory Interested in you as a person

7 Do good science Definition of good research: –The ability to ask and unambiguously answer an important scientific question –NF La Russo –Former editor in chief, Gastroenterology

8 Develop a reputation in a field Systematically develop a line of investigation Become known as topic expert Collaborate well

9 Picking scientific ideas to follow Most interesting in your field (citations!) Opportunities for collaboration Innovative not Derivative Clear thinking Clear story telling


11 When to publish a story Numbers Impact Time Advice of mentor is key

12 Writing your paper Start early –Time to get feedback –Time to revise –Get new ideas when writing Think in figures and tables –Key results –Finish strong

13 Writing your paper Writing –Clear –Succinct –No repetition –English –Find a good scientific author and emulate their style

14 Writing your paper Introduction –Take the reader by the hand –Introduce the key players –Expose the knowledge gaps

15 Writing your paper Results –Think in figures/tables –Progression –Key data last

16 Writing your paper Discussion –Start with most important findings –Interpret in light of prior knowledge –Balance

17 Figures Immaculate layout Clear labels No 3D histograms! Grouped in logical sections to make key points

18 Submitting your paper Choose a journal –Scan recent issues –Fit? –Clinical vs pre-clinical vs basic –Physiology vs pathophysiology –General vs subspecialty –Impact –Time to first decision

19 Gut aims to publish original articles describing novel mechanisms of disease and new management strategies, both diagnostic and therapeutic, likely to impact on clinical practice within the foreseeable future. Not good: Descriptive data Pure physiology Clinical Some human data

20 Editorial policy Articles illustrating basic mechanisms and their application to clinical material will be welcomed. We aim to cover all areas of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and through a system of commentaries and Recent Advances articles to make clear the relevance of scientific advances to clinical practice. The priorities are originality and excellence. We aim to ensure a fair and independent peer review system and to publish articles which follow the highest ethical standards concerning research conduct. Add Citation Potential: importance, general applicability


22 Submitting your paper Adhere to rules of journal –Length, figures & tables, references, order of sections etc –Consort, STARD, subject flow etc Website eg ScholarOne –Can seem difficult but work through it Suggest reviewers –Friends?? – beware Non-preferred reviewers – avoid unless essential

23 Peer Review: the key process that determines if your article will be published Subjecting scholarly work to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field. Encourages authors to meet acceptable standards. Ensures validity. Assesses significance and importance of findings.

24 Reasons for External Peer Review Done by recruited reviewers. Editors lack time and expertise. Need for diversity of opinion. Reviewers are anonymous and independent. Reviewers must lack conflict of interest.

25 Weaknesses of Peer Review Slow Subject to bias Favours pre-existing ideas May suppress dissent and inhibit scientific revolutions. Fails when invalid results are published.

26 How Biomedical Journals Work: Gut Owned by the British Medical Journal Publishing Group. Governed by the British Society of Gastroenterology. Editor in Chief selected by representatives of BMJ Publishing Group and the British Society of Gastroenterology. Pressures on Biomedical Journals include: Declining paper subscriptions and increasing online access. Increasing competition with higher numbers of journals. Need to increase impact factor. Copy flow

27 Types of Journal Articles Original Research. Reviews Commissioned or non-commissioned. Recent Advances Letters – best ones comment on previous Gut articles Commentary / Editorial –Always commissioned

28 Reject 50% Associate Editor 6 x Reviewers Personal Search 2 x Reviews Associate Editor Reject 10% Editorial Meeting Revise 15% Reject 20% Accept <1% Corresponding author Accept with minor revisions 5% Give Up! More Work Editorial Office Corresponding Author Editor-in-Chief Life cycle of a manuscript

29 How Editors Pick Reviewers Expertise Independence Record Lack of conflict of interest Authors suggestions Search

30 What Good Reviewers Do Read the abstract Know the Journal? Know the topic? Or are prepared to study it? Can complete it in two weeks Have no conflict of interest –Positive –Negative

31 Step 1 in peer review Read the article Ask the big questions. Novel Valid Interesting Significance Presentation of data Interpretation of results

32 Step 2: Attention to Detail Figures Clear Well labelled Not Misleading Statistics Appropriate Tables. Grammar and Writing.

33 Stew Over It No rash decisions. Write down initial impressions. Read pertinent articles in the field in question if necessary. Assess for similar publications. Do not discuss.

34 Step 3: Write the Review What questions do the Editors want answered? Decision Major and minor comments to the Editor confidential Comments to the author

35 What Does the Editor Want to Know? Scores Brief summary of the main findings of the article. Are the findings Novel Valid Interesting Is the presentation adequate? Is the interpretation reasonable? Main reasons why you are making your decision.

36 What does the Author Want to Know Strengths Weaknesses Suggestions for Improvements Do not tell the author what decision you are recommending.

37 Comments to Editor Good Specific reasons for recommendation Context relative to specialist field Significance (citability) Bad Vague Subjective Too short Personal/Vindictive

38 Comments to authors Good Praise Strengths Weaknesses and specific recommendations Main points Lesser points Detailed Bad Personal/vindictive Unhelpful Superficial Didnt read the ms thoroughly Give away your recommendation

39 Comments to author: This study uses a well-established NEC model to examine the induction of a wide array of innate immune responses. The paper generates several hypotheses but these are not discussed and it is not clear to reader what the next step of this study should be. Although a thorough analysis, it is not surprising to the reader that NEC leads to induction of a broad inflammatory response at the tissue level. While the down-regulation of TLR5 and TGF-beta in NEC is interesting and novel, the demonstrated role of TLR4, IL-12, and IL-18 in NEC are not new. ………………… A good review Comments to editor: A descriptive paper that generates several interesting hypotheses. Unfortunately the authors do not follow-up by asking interesting questions or by providing possible answers. The manuscript would benefit greatly from adding data from suggested additional experiments (especially time-course). At the current stage we would not recommend publication in Gut but will be happy to re-review once the suggested changes / experiments have been performed.

40 A bad review Comments to authors: Present study by ………. et al, evaluated the inhibitory effect of anti-IL23R mAbs on a T-cell independent IBD mouse model and compared this effect with anti-IL23 mAbs' effect. Moreover they identified some efficacy biomarkers - S100A8, S100A9, REG3, REG3, LCN2 - for anti- IL23 therapy in CD. Besides they confirmed the target biomarkers by using a T-cell dependent colitis model. This study also showed in vitro IL23/Th17 pathway upregulated the expression of same biomarkers in human colonic epithelial cells. Finally, authors demonstrated that both serum levels and tissue expression levels of same biomarkers were increased in active Crohn's disease patients whereas decreased in patients who were in remission. Furthermore, they found two novel CD-associated serum biomarkers: LCN2 and CCL20. Comments to editor: none

41 How Reviewers Comments Interact With the Editorial Board Advisory role of reviewers Independence of Reviewers When reviewers disagree Easy or soft reviewers versus hypercritical reviewers

42 How Editorial Decisions Are Made Reviewers Comments and Recommendations. Suitability (should be addressed early by editor) Priority and competition Likelihood of high citation Need for accompanying editorial or commentary

43 How Editorial Decisions Are Made Reject –Methodological or Analytical Weakness Clinical work – hard to overcome Lab work – easier to overcome –Priority Low novelty Low significance Low impact (citation potential) –Unsuitability for journal

44 How Editorial Decisions Are Made Revision –Major means new work needed Experiments Subjects Deep analysis –Minor means writing changes usually Interpretation Minor analytical issues

45 What to do with reviewers comments If accepted without revision you have submitted to the wrong journal! Scan quickly for the word However………. Major revision with work needed –Is it fair or unreasonable? –Can you do it or a co-worker? –Would it negatively impact subsequent publications (number versus impact) –Can some of the reviewers comments be rebutted?

46 Preparing your manuscript for re-submission Follow journal rules!! Respond point by point to every comment –Additional data –Revised writing –Rebuttal


48 Float a boat Exciting data but results not well developed –Submit to high impact journal –If reviewed and even if rejected you have reviewers comments Do what they suggest Resubmit

49 Revisions: some room for rebuttal At Gut a revise editorial decision usually leads to acceptance Reviewers and editors have pointed out several key weaknesses Address key ones with additional data Room to rebut some less important ones –Especially if beyond scope of current project

50 Recruit a key collaborator to strengthen borderline weak papers Well known scientist in related field Cutting edge analytical approach Subject/sample numbers Other diseases

51 Write a recent advances article Contact editor in chief with an abstract of your review In cover letter explain why your topic is deserving of a major review article –Significant recent advances –Impact Clinical Pathophysiology Significance –Topical/controversial


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