Reviewer of the Month (2023)

Posted On 2023-10-07 10:45:57

In 2023, ACE reviewers continue to make 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.

July, 2023
Kahren M. White, Cancer Institute New South Wales, Australia

December, 2023
Sydney L. Proffer, Mayo Clinic, USA

July, 2023

Kahren M. White

Dr. Kahren White, DrPH, MPC, BAppSc(OT), is an Occupational Therapist with nearly 30 years of clinical experience in palliative care and oncology. Her clinical specialty is in thoracic malignancies and occupational dust diseases. She works at the Cancer Institute NSW, the cancer control agency for the state of New South Wales in Australia. She is currently the manager of NSW Quitline, a phone information and counselling service for residents of NSW with nicotine addiction. She also has a clinical Occupational Therapy practice providing independent expert witness assessments and reports for people with occupational dust diseases and people with life limiting illness. Dr. White has been involved in many research studies, looking at occupational therapy management of refractory breathlessness, as well as patterns of care in lung and ovarian cancers in NSW, multidisciplinary cancer care and the implementation of optimal care pathways for a number of cancers across NSW. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

ACE: What role does peer review play in science?

Dr. White: Peer review is essential to ensure independent review of research. This assists with identifying and managing bias, as well as ensuring the methodology used is appropriate and transparent. Research being published should add to the evidence for the topic. This is why I believe reviewers should only review papers within their own area of experience.

ACE: What reviewers have to bear in mind while reviewing papers?

Dr. White: It is important for peer reviewers to bring openness and enquiry when reviewing papers. Authors may not be English speaking or be new and emerging researchers. It is important to provide open and respectful feedback, particularly for those papers that may not be based on robust research, or may be poorly written. Not every paper is of the quality required for publication, but the review process can be used as a learning opportunity for both authors and reviewers.

ACE: Would you like to say a few words to encourage other reviewers who have been devoting themselves to advancing scientific progress behind the scene?

Dr. White: Most of the people who spend their time reviewing papers are doing this outside of work hours with no renumeration. We do this as we are passionate about our clinical or scientific areas of practice and want to ensure the evidence base and innovation continues to grow with high-quality research.

ACE: From a reviewer’s perspective, do you think it is important for authors to follow reporting guidelines (e.g., STROBE and CARE) during preparation of their manuscripts?

Dr. White: I believe that following reporting guidelines in the preparation of papers is important and provides further rigor and transparency of the research. Through following these structured reporting guidelines, papers are more likely to cover key aspects of the research that are of interest to the readers, as well as improve the quality of the paper. I don’t think it is just for new and emerging researchers, but all people developing papers for publications should be using these reporting guidelines.

(By Lareina Lim, Brad Li)

December, 2023

Sydney L. Proffer

Sydney Proffer, MD, MS, is a board-eligible senior dermatology resident at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and incoming Mohs micrographic surgery and cosmetic fellow at Northwestern University in July 2024. She earned her medical degree from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and Master's Degree in Healthcare Delivery from Arizona State University. Dr. Proffer is an accomplished international speaker, a monthly podcaster for Dermatology Digest, and has consistently received recognition for her contributions to the field of dermatology. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications showcasing her expertise in regenerative medicine, cellular senescence, alopecia, and dermato-oncology. Actively engaged in professional organizations, she is a member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, American Academy of Dermatology, and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Proffer's leadership extends beyond her clinical work. She currently serves on the boards of directors of the Mayo Clinic O'Leary Society and American Society of Dermatologic Surgery. She is emeritus chair of Mayo Clinic’s American Medical Women’s Association chapter. Connect with her on Instagram @ sydney.proffer.

Reviewers are crucial to the peer-review process and comprise the backbone of every high-quality journal. According to Dr. Proffer, reviewers are detailed communicators and maintain a high level of expertise in the field in order to adequately critique each article’s scientific merit. They are timely, responsible, and analytical. A strong reviewer will do his/her best to maintain impartiality and objectivity and disclose any conflicts of interest that might influence their judgement.

In Dr. Proffer’s opinion, finding reviewers with the necessary qualifications who are willing to invest time in the review process poses a notable challenge to journals. This difficulty leads to the overburdening of specific individuals, potentially jeopardizing the comprehensiveness of manuscript reviews. Each review inherently carries with it subjectivity and is ultimately susceptible to bias, influenced by many factors such as author reputation, institutional affiliation, or the novelty of the research.

To mitigate these challenges, Dr. Proffer points out that maintaining transparency and fostering diversity among reviewers is crucial. This not only enhances accountability, but also promotes a collaborative dynamic between the authors and reviewers themselves, whereby the authors of a submitted manuscript begin to see their reviewers as teammates trying to elevate the quality of their work rather than adversaries. Offering training and guidelines to reviewers can also be instrumental in elevating the quality of reviews, ensuring a more standardized and thorough evaluation process.

I applaud the dedication and hard work of reviewers who contribute to advancing scientific progress behind the scenes. Your commitment to ensuring the quality and integrity of our field is invaluable. By reviewing and providing constructive feedback, you play a crucial role in maintaining the high standards of scientific knowledge and helping patients. Your efforts contribute to the credibility and reliability of each publication and benefit our community, and society, as a whole,” says Dr. Proffer.

(by Lareina Lim, Brad Li)