Our research group spends time during monthly meetings to review manuscripts, which has proven to be a good educational opportunity for all of us. However, for those new to reviewing, it can be a daunting task – Where to start? What to include? How long should it be? What if I miss something?
I usually suggest that our trainees start by reading the manuscript and creating bullet points of all of the perceived strengths and limitations…from novelty to grammar….and everything in between. Although this general approach is good to help contribute to our group discussion, the final review submitted to the journal includes in-depth comments and perspectives.
To give reviewers (both new and experienced) some structure for crafting their reviews, Elsevier recently published a practical checklist to guide reviewers’ comments and feedback, which should be a useful tool for our team to try out the next time around.