CDT student Rob McNair publishes an article on scientific peer review

Year 2 student, Robert McNair, has successfully published an article in the Education Research International journal, entitled 'Peer Review of Manuscripts: A Valuable yet Neglected Educational Tool for Early-Career Researchers'.

Rob McNair
Robert McNair, 2017 Cohort.

In summing up the article Robert says,

Scientific peer review is a pillar of scholarly publication and is indispensable in maintaining high quality and integrity of works published in scientific journals. Whilst peer review is well-practiced and commonplace among academics, most early-career researchers/PhD students (ECRs) receive far less exposure to the process throughout their studies. This is despite ECRs possessing excellent knowledge of their subject area and a willingness to broaden their existing knowledge.  The scope of our article aimed to gauge:

  1. The current involvement of early-career researchers within scientific peer review
  2. If peer review was being used as an educational tool, to help develop key transferrable skills in ECRs to apply throughout their professional careers

To determine these, separate surveys were distributed to academics and ECRs spanning 10 countries and 70+ institutions. Reponses were gathered on the amount of ECRs currently undertaking peer review, reasons why academics involved students in peer review and the effect that peer review had on various skills often utilised by ECRs. Our study found that peer review is a somewhat under-utilised resource for ECRs. This is despite both academics and ECRs stating the beneficial impact of peer review on skills such as critical thinking, academic writing, proofreading and ethical expectations. Our findings call for academics to engage more ECRs in the review process, under supervision and mentoring. This will facilitate the development of their transferrable skills into postgraduate research and their careers beyond.

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