Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Peer Review and Capacity Building

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Peer Review and Capacity Building

Article excerpt

Peer review is an almost invisible activity that can make or break a journal. One of the first things that struck me when I became the Scientific Editor for the Canadian Journal of Public Health is the consistently high level of peer review. A typical review consists of 2-3 pages of thoughtful comments and constructive suggestions. Although most authors would likely wish that the reviewer response was something like "This is great; no changes needed", authors usually rise to the challenge of the review and work hard to transform their manuscripts into compelling articles.

Peer review is time-consuming and the benefits to the reviewer are neither immediate nor obvious. Undoubtedly, "reviewer fatigue" can set in, especially if reviewers also sit on granting bodies, a research ethics board, or review for other journals. But there are some benefits. Reviewing is an opportunity to hone critical appraisal skills and gain experience in identifying good science and good scientific writing. This experience can then be applied to the reviewer's own work.

Perhaps the least tangible, but most important benefit of reviewing, is the altruistic satisfaction of contributing to one's discipline. …

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