Annual Meeting Report

New Initiatives for Training Editors, Reviewers, and Authors

Patricia Baskin
Executive Editor
Neurology Journals
American Academy of Neurology
Minneapolis, Minnesota

James Galipeau
Knowledge Synthesis Group
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Lindsay Morton
Contributor Experience Manager
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
San Francisco, California

David Riley
Associate Editor
The Permanente Journal
The Permanente Press
Portland, Oregon

Oliver M Stroeh
John F. McDermott Assistant Editor-in-Residence
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
New York, New York

Following introductory remarks by Patricia Baskin, Dr. James Galipeau delivered the first presentation of the session. Galipeau reviewed the stepwise process by which he and the group he leads have been working to develop a set of core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals. Galipeau shared that the process has resulted in the identification of 14 key competencies, each of which falls into one of the following three categories: editor qualities and skills, publication ethics and research integrity, and editorial principles and processes. Galipeau reviewed that he and the group currently have several publications regarding this project in progress, are working to obtain statements of endorsement for these core competencies (including from stakeholders), and are exploring the implementation of these core competencies. They are developing a core competency–based curriculum that can be used as an educational resource to formalize and standardize the training and education of scientific editors of biomedical journals and, as a result, increase these editors’ effectiveness in their roles and improve the quality of reporting in and publication of medical/scientific research.

Lindsay Morton was the second speaker and presented an initiative in progress at the Public Library of Science (PLoS) that targets peer reviewers. Morton reviewed a landscape analysis that showed most publishers either do not provide any reviewer-specific resources or provide only basic reviewer guidelines, and only 16% of publishers provide robust reviewer resources and outreach. Morton identified the aims of the PLoS initiative as (1) providing high-level training to peer reviewers, (2) more actively engaging the peer reviewers as members of the contributor team, and (3) recognizing and rewarding peer reviewers. PLoS anticipates such programming will improve the consistency and quality of feedback, foster community development, and support innovation. With regard to the training of peer reviewers, the PLoS group is in the process of identifying and prioritizing deliverables. PLoS has taken several steps toward recognizing and rewarding peer reviewers, including the annual publication of a DOI-identified article that contains supplementary information (SI) files (which can be updated/edited by PLoS) and sending each peer reviewer an annual thank-you email message in which PLoS offers to provide the peer reviewer with a letter formally recognizing the reviewer’s role and contributions. PLoS’s experience has been that the investment in recognizing and rewarding peer reviewers is manageable and the associated returns are significant. Finally, Morton reviewed next steps, including the introduction of an additional midyear communication and providing peer reviewers with personal review-related statistics. Morton emphasized feedback, communication, and the recognition and reward for the peer reviewers’ efforts more actively engage peer reviewers in the larger PLoS community.

The final speaker of the session was Dr. David Riley. Riley began his presentation by reviewing the scope of the Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research (EQUATOR) Network, which is an international initiative that provides an up-to-date centralized resource for researchers and scientists reporting research, peer reviewer assessment of manuscripts, and editorial evaluation of journal manuscripts for publication. The EQUATOR Network has produced more than 350 reporting guidelines, including for controlled trials; cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional trials; and case reports and case series. Riley then reviewed the CARE guidelines, which were developed by an international group of experts and are designed to increase the accuracy, transparency, and usefulness of case reports and case series. They also are designed to be applicable to the reporting of case reports regardless of medical specialty. To close his presentation, Riley reviewed the value of systematically structured case reports and case series, and the ways in which they contribute to scholarly knowledge and benefit patients, clinicians, researchers, educational institutions, and policy makers. The CARE guidelines have been endorsed by multiple medical journals.