Over the year, many JLPM reviewers have made outstanding contributions to the peer review process. They demonstrated professional effort and enthusiasm in their reviews and provided comments that genuinely help the authors to enhance their work.
Hereby, we would like to highlight some of our outstanding reviewers, with a brief interview of their thoughts and insights as a reviewer. Allow us to express our heartfelt gratitude for their tremendous effort and valuable contributions to the scientific process.
Tze Ping Loh, National University Hospital, Singapore
Alexander E. Berezin, Zaporozhzhia State Medical University, Ukraine
Tze Ping Loh
Dr. Tze Ping Loh was born in Penang, Malaysia. He obtained his undergraduate medical degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland-Penang Medical College, and undertook his Fellowship (Royal College of Pathologists, UK) training in chemical pathology at the National University Hospital, Singapore. He currently serves as Consultant, Director of Informatics and Research Director at Department of Laboratory Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore. His areas of interest include biomarker discovery and translational research (molecular diagnostics and chemical pathology), outcome research of established/ novel biomarker, pediatric general biochemistry and laboratory management.
On the importance of peer review, Dr. Loh says, “A peer review is a process where the product of an academic endeavor is subject under the scrutiny of a trained colleague in the field. It provides an opportunity to refine the thoughts and presentation of the scientific content and helps maintain a minimum rigor of the scientific literature.”
To Dr. Loh, a constructive review always seeks to improve the overall scientific understanding and validity of the field of study, even though it may occasionally mean rejection as an outcome. On the contrary, a destructive review is generally one that is not undertaken by colleagues with relevant experience/expertise, or one that is not motivated by scientific rigor.
Even though peer-reviewing is non-profitable, Dr. Loh sees it as an opportunity to learn what is new and important in the field and an opportunity to have an intellectual exchange with another expert in the field is most exciting and rewarding, so he keeps motivating himself to review on a regular basis.
Lastly, Dr. Loh advocates the use of reporting guidelines in scientific studies, “Reporting guidelines are conceived and produced to ensure that a (minimum) standard is set for reporting a study. This will help the research community examine to strength and limitation of the study and put the findings in the right context. Additionally, it ensures that all relevant information is reported so that the experiments can be replicated independently or pooled together for meta-analysis. Arguably, these guidelines should be considered at the conception of the relevant studies to ensure the rigor of the study outcomes. A well-written manuscript that follows these guidelines ensures that all important information is available to the reviewer to make the best assessment and recommendation of the manuscript.”
(By Brad Li, Eunice X. Xu)
Alexander E. Berezin
Dr. Alexander E. Berezin is currently working as a Senior Consultant, a Lecturer, and a Full Professor of Medicine in the State Medical University of Zaporozhzhia, Ukraine. His research goals are a fundamental study of biological markers, molecular mechanisms of the development of heart failure, prediction of heart failure outcomes, as well as meta-analysis and big data in the field of heart failure evolution and therapy. You may find out more about Dr. Berezin’s publications here and here.
In Dr. Berezin’s opinion, a robust and trustworthy system of peer review should base on determining the novelty, significance, and originality of the article. “Peer reviewers do not need to limit finding out any criticism or error in the article. They should try to improve the quality of the manuscript making a sort of advice that allows authors to think of certain discrepancies in the text, bias, and methodological errors, and thereby make the article suitable for publication for the best,” says Dr. Berezin.
In addition, Dr. Berezin thinks that plagiarism and manipulation with raw data being unacceptable in the context of scientific ethics require opening up over the review procedure if they have been suspected. He adds that a scientific hypothesis, quality of methodology, clarity in result description, and depth in a scientific discussion along with a comparison with recently obtained data came from other investigators are a priority in checking out the manuscript. “Reviewer comments should not be reported in a dishonest, disrespectful, and offensive manner. It must consist of a clear and comprehensive description of why and in which way the author is supposed to modify the paper,” says Dr. Berezin.
Dr. Berezin also believes that the Conflict of Interest (COI) forms must be completed, while such components of scientific integrity as a personal acquaintance and shared authorship sometimes remain outside the formal agreement of a COI. These factors certainly influence the quality of the peer review and reviewers should try to keep away from these options.
Participation in peer review of papers is a priority of Dr. Berezin among other activities that affect the discussion of the results of scientific research. “I am a clinician. Time always runs out, so I try re-scheduling my daily timetable to make comprehensive comments and help authors and editors in working with proof. I rather shift a personal communication with my colleagues than refuse from giving peer review,” explains Dr. Berezin.
(By Vicky Wong, Brad Li, Eunice X. Xu)