My first reviewing experience: Part II: Reviewing

Earlier I wrote about my accepting the paper for review. I have completed the review within the period suggested by the editors, namely, two to three weeks. On the whole, the entire process of reviewing and writing up the report cost me six to seven hours. Considering that I took nearly 15 days or so to complete the process, on the average it cost me about half-an-hour per day. So, I think, if I am not too pressed for time, I will be able to review twelve papers or so per year — which is not a bad number — in fact, by some reckoning, that would actually mean that I have to write at least three papers a year.

Recently, I learnt about a couple of mistakes reviewers tend to make, namely, demanding reflexively that more be done and failing to consider all the goals and requirements for the journal. I tried to keep them in mind while carrying out the review, and, I think I did not make either of them.

For the review, I read the paper in the same way I read any journal paper: abstract, conclusions, introduction, skimming through the results, the  sections of formulation or methodology or experiments, and, several back and forth readings of the results and the formulation, methodology, experiment sections. As I was doing that, I was also trying to picture in my mind how I would make a presentation out of the paper if I have to — like, for example, where does the work fit in the scheme of things, how it compares with the existing studies in the area, what is new, what is the take home message, etc, — and, this exercise helped me make decisive comments about the work. Of course, I also had to borrow a couple of text books from the library, and check out a few references. Along the way, I started jotting down the comments and questions I had.

The next step was very crucial to me since I had to take some expert opinion on my opinions of the paper; so, I had a discussion with a couple of my mentors and with one of my colleagues. That gave me some pointers, and all of them agreed with me largely on the conclusions I  have reached.

Both my mentors also agreed to read through my report and give me the feedback; this feedback was crucial. It so happened  that both of them pointed out a mistake I made in my report due to my lack of understanding as well as unfamiliarity with some of the literature in the area. But for their feedback, my report would have contained at least one error.

On the whole, it was a nice educational experience, and I would not mind doing that again for another paper!


One Response to “My first reviewing experience: Part II: Reviewing”

  1. Live blogging the first peer-reviewing experience | DesiPundit Says:

    […] paper for a journal is probably the academic equivalent of the first kiss. Guru has a four part series on this fascinating […]

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