Cancer Research, Statistics, and Treatment

: 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 115--116

The journey from author to reviewer

Sunny Chi Lik Au 
 Department of Ophthalmology, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong, China

Correspondence Address:
Sunny Chi Lik Au
9/F, MO Office, Lo Ka Chow Memorial Ophthalmic Centre, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, 19 Eastern Hospital Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

How to cite this article:
Au SC. The journey from author to reviewer.Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:115-116

How to cite this URL:
Au SC. The journey from author to reviewer. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 11 ];4:115-116
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Full Text

Right from their undergraduate medical school training, doctors-to-be are drilled to inculcate the lifelong skills of reading literature and analyzing the hierarchy of evidence.[1],[2] After a tough clinical year of internship, specialty training becomes the defining aspect of the careers of residents. With the rapid innovations in the different fields of medicine, textbooks are no longer enough to tackle the daily challenges of clinical practice.[3] On the contrary, literature and evidence become our new friends that help us manage our patients day in and day out.[4]

As we advance into our training, writing manuscripts becomes an integral part of our postwork routine. With time, the number of invites we receive from different peer-reviewed journals to review articles increases. This trend has been on the rise, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, because physical face-to-face contact with people at overseas conferences is no longer feasible. When I received my first invitation to be a peer reviewer, I felt both excited and honored, but I also doubted my ability to perform this role successfully without a Ph.D. or an M.D degree. I was not sure if what I thought about the article was right. However, all the hard work that I had put in for the publication of my own work helped me to a great extent,[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] particularly in assessing the structure and flow of the article, its objectives, the flaws in the study methodology, the disguised statistical manipulations, and most importantly: whether it would interest the readers.

Every author invests a huge amount of time and effort to produce their masterpiece. With courage, I took my first step as a reviewer. It was an eye-opening and fascinating journey into new technologies and ideas. On the other hand, reading preprints is like facing the mirror, you relive your previous mistakes and how you solved them at every step leading to the current stage. The role of a reviewer is crucial to all future developments in the field of medicine, as a reviewer is responsible for recommending the acceptance of only those articles for publication which guide and support future clinical practices.[13] However, one feels empathy for the authors when objectively rejecting their work.

Getting involved in the peer review process is a highly rewarding experience that can improve one's research and help further one's career.[14],[15] There is no single route to becoming a reviewer, but there are some common ways. These include but are not limited to:

Asking colleagues who already review for journals to recommend youNetworking with associate editors or even editors at scientific conferencesJoining as a member of a society in the relevant field and networking with other members in your area of expertiseContacting journals directly for new opportunities as reviewersSeeking references from senior practitioners.

We should not be afraid to reject an invitation to peer review when our ability or workload prevents us from meeting the publication's standards. As a reviewer, one can make a meaningful contribution to achieve the best practices. As either an author or as a reviewer, you will never know how much you can achieve until you step out of your comfort zone and try.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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