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Peer review training and resources

Peer review training and guides

Annals of Emergency Medicine has produced a web-based Guide for Peer Reviewers of Biomedical Manuscripts that covers the same material as their reviewer workshops (Adobe Flash required). It walks you through critically appraising a manuscript and gives examples of good and bad peer review.

In 2015, BioMed Central launched a blog series on peer review for beginners, covering issues such as how to evaluate whether you should take on a particular review, how to approach the review, and how to re-review.

BMC Medicine commissioned a series of training articles from research methodology experts to provide tips for reviewers.

The BMJ has produced a training package of Powerpoint presentations and practice reviews.

The Canadian Institute of Health and Gender has designed this online course to help researchers and peer reviewers account for sex and gender in biomedical research in humans, animals, tissues, and cells.

The Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group CEVG@US Project and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health collaborated on this free online course for peer reviewers. This 12-lecture series explains the basics of critical appraisal and how to translate your appraisal into a useful review.

The Committee on Publication Ethics published its first ethical guidelines for peer reviewers in 2013, detailing peer reviewers’ responsibilities at all stages of the review process.

The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme offers checklists to guide your peer review of different study types.

The Elsevier Publishing Campus includes a collection of free online lectures and interactive courses on navigating the peer review system as both author and reviewer.

How to Survive Peer Review by Liz Wager, Fiona Godlee, and Tom Jefferson is a freely available book published in 2012 by BMJ Books.

This book aims to explain just enough about peer review to enable you to survive and benefit from it, and to be a competent reviewer. It is designed to be a practical handbook, based on evidence and experience but not weighed down with footnotes and references. –How to Survive Peer Review, p. 1

Peerage of Science, an online clearinghouse for peer review that journals can subscribe to, has made available a collection of its top-rated critical peer reviews.

The Publons Academy is a practical peer review training course for early-career researchers developed together with expert academics and editors to teach you the core competencies and skills needed for peer review.

Springer Nature offers a collection of peer review advice and training for peer reviewers from Nature, BioMed Central, and Springer.

Taylor & Francis offers a short guide to best practices in peer review.

VisionLearning offers a free online module on the history of peer review and how peer review works in practice, with a detailed worked example.

The CHAMP Statement and checklist and the accompanying explanation and elaboration paper have been developed for statistical peer review of medical papers.

Peer review in the news and literature

EQUATOR Network research on peer review

In 2012, Allison Hurst and Doug Altman of the UK EQUATOR Centre investigated how journals talked about reporting guidelines to their peer reviewers. They found that around 35% of journals offered freely accessible online instructions about their peer review process and, of those, about half mentioned reporting guidelines.

International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication

The International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication aims to encourage research into the quality and credibility of peer review and scientific publication, to establish the evidence base on which scientists can improve the conduct, reporting, and dissemination of scientific research. Abstracts from all talks and any resultant papers are included through the link “Past Congresses” on the home page.

Peer Review Week

The annual international Peer Review Week celebrates peer review’s role in maintaining scientific quality. The event brings together individuals, institutions, and organisations committed to sharing the message that all good peer review is critical to scholarly communications.

Peer Review Debate

In 2006, Nature hosted a Peer Review Debate to answer questions such as what is the best method of peer review and are the ethical concerns of peer review. The 22 articles of analyses and perspectives from leading scientists, publishers and other stakeholders are no longer available. However, from 2006 to 2010, the conversation about peer review continued at Nature.com-hosted blog Peer-to-peer, which has now been archived but remains available for reading.

Peer Review in The Guardian

The Guardian regularly publishes popular press pieces on peer review and scientific publishing.

Peer Review with Sense about Science

Sense about Science regularly publishes information about peer review aimed at lay and scientific audiences. In 2012, they published a ‘Nuts and Bolts’ guide to peer review for early career researchers, produced in collaboration with early-career researchers.

Peer Review in the blogosphere

How to peer review is a perennial topic in academic blogs. Here’s a sample of blog posts we’ve come across. These posts generally include tips and advice based on the personal experience of one academic:

Return to the peer review toolkit homepage

We hope you find the contents of this toolkit helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with the EQUATOR Network team by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook. We welcome any extra training materials or literature collections that you have found useful in your peer review!

This page was last updated on 1 March 2021