Over the year, many ATM reviewers have made 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 a few 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.
Majid Moshirfar, Hoopes Vision, USA
Jaw-Yuan Wang, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan
Angelo Carretta, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Italy
Dana T. Graves, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Dr. Majid Moshirfar earned his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine with Alpha Omega Alpha honorary recognition. He completed his ophthalmology residency at Illinois Eye and Ear Hospital in Chicago where, during his final year, he received the Best Resident Award. This was followed by a two-year fellowship with emphasis on cornea and external disease, refractive surgery, and anterior segment reconstruction at the Moran Eye Center. Dr. Moshirfar then established his own cornea fellowship at the Moran Eye Center and served on the faculty of the University of Utah’s John A. Moran Eye Center for 18 years, including 16 as the Director of Cornea and Refractive Surgery. Dr. Moshirfar spent a year as a Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Moshirfar currently serves an attending physician at Hoopes Vision in Draper, UT as well as the Director of the Hoopes Vision Research Center. In addition, he is the Director of the Utah Cornea Fellowship at Hoopes Vision and the Medical Director of the Utah Lions Eye Bank. His current research focuses on new techniques in refractive surgery and treatment of complex corneal disorders including tissue implantation and minimally invasive procedures for tissue augmentation in patients with corneal ectasia.
In Dr. Moshirfar’s opinion, peer review plays a crucial role in science, “As scientific knowledge is cumulative, verifying the quality of published works is paramount. The peer review process motivates researchers to ensure that their work will meet the high standards set by the scientific community. As our ultimate goal is to offer our patients the best care possible, expert suggestions offered by qualified reviewers benefit us all.”
A constructive review, to Dr. Moshirfar, aims to offer a fresh perspective as well as concrete suggestions to correct weaknesses in the paper, “As an author of peer-reviewed publications, I have seen first-hand how reviewer comments can significantly improve the quality of a paper, so it is my honor to do what I can to help others in this way. In addition, reviewing the work of my peers is a great way to keep up to date on new techniques and developments.”
Dr. Moshirfar emphasizes the importance for retrospective studies to apply for institutional review board approval, “It can be tempting to skip steps once you have an exciting idea for a project but submitting an application to the institutional review board is crucial for retrospective studies. Reliance on the institutional review board to determine whether approval is necessary helps to protect patients. Ethical statements ensure transparency and integrity in the manuscript publication process.”
Prof. Jaw-Yuan Wang is the Professor of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Between 2018 and 2020, he held the position of President of the Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, Taiwan. His research interests include surgical and molecular oncology, colorectal cancer, gastrointestinal malignancy, robotic surgery and microbiota. He went on to receive further training as a Research Fellow at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA. He now serves as Leader of Colorectal Cancer Multidisciplinary Team, Program Director of Robotic Surgery, Chairman of Nutrition Support Council, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University.
Prof. Wang is an active member in numerous professional organizations including the Taiwan Surgical Association, Taiwan Surgical Society of Gastroenterology, Society of Colon and Rectal Surgical Society of Gastroenterology, Taiwan; Taiwan Robotic Surgery Association; Taiwan Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Taiwan Oncology Society, Clinical Oncology Society of Taiwan, Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition of Asia, International Association of Surgeons and Gastroenterologists, The Academy of Surgical Research and The Chinese Oncology Society. He also holds appointments as executive director of board of Taiwan Surgical Association; director of board of Taiwan Society of Coloproctology; executive director of board of Taiwan Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and executive director of board of Taiwan Genomic Medicine and Biomarker Society. Since 2020, he has been a member of the European Society of Coloproctology Global Reach Committee.
Besides being a recipient of numerous awards since 2003, he has published widely at least 337 peer-reviewed papers (279 SCI and 58 Non-SCI) and 5 book chapters. Prof. Wang is an editor in several prestigious international Journals, such as World Journal of Gastroenterology, Asian Journal of Surgery, Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences (Associate Editor), Oncology Letters and Frontiers in Oncology (Guest Editor). He also serves a reviewer for more than 70 prestigious journals including Annals of Surgery, Gastroenterology, Cancer Research, Oncology, American College of Surgeons, BMC Cancer, Cancer Letters, Clinical Cancer Research, Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics, International Journal of Cancer and British Journal of Cancer, etc. He has also been the PI of Biosignature in Colorectal Cancers, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, between 2012 and 2018. Since 2019, he was appointed as clinical implication committee member, Taiwan Precision Medicine Initiative, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
In Prof. Wang’s opinion, a robust peer review system is one with friendly user-interface and timely response in the whole review process for reviewers. Each reviewer’s comments should be respected and if significant inconsistencies exist between reviewers’ comments, additional reviewers should be invited to balance the discrepancies between them. Finally, reviewers should be informed of the editor’s decision.
To Prof. Wang, reviewers should bear in mind 3 questions while reviewing papers: the scientific soundness of study design and method, study rationale for conducting the study and consistent data that are reproducible. Even though reviewing is often anonymous and non-profitable, Prof. Wang thinks that it is a good way to gain research experience–sharing, motivate the scientific advance and at the same time give him more inputs.
On the importance of disclosure of Conflicts of Interest (COIs) recommended by International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), Prof. Wang says, “The study results should maintain their transparency and justice. Thus, ICMJE is important for the disclosure of all potential conflict of interests.”
Dr. Angelo Carretta is associate professor of Thoracic Surgery and director of the Thoracic Surgery residency program at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, Italy. He practices at the Thoracic Surgery Unit of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute of Milan, Italy where he is the head of the Thoracic Endoscopy Unit. He earned his medical degree at the University of Parma, Italy and completed his residency in Thoracic Surgery at the University of Milan, Italy, where he also earned his PhD. He has spent periods to improve knowledge on airway surgery and lung transplantation by visiting the Department of Thoracic Surgery of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA and at the Department of Thoracic Surgery of the University of Vienna, Austria. He is certified by the Italian and European Boards of Thoracic Surgery and is a member of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery (EACTS), the International Society of Surgery (ISS), the Italian Thoracic Surgery and Italian Thoracic Endoscopy societies. Dr. Carretta’s main clinical and research interests include minimally-invasive surgery, lung cancer, emphysema surgery, tracheal diseases, thymoma, pleural mesothelioma and operative bronchoscopy.
Dr. Carretta regards peer review as a fundamental role in the progress of science and in particular in the dissemination of the results of research, “Peer review plays an essential role in verifying the correctness of the data presented. It also has a crucial role in making these data available to a wide audience of readers. This thanks to a shared process between authors, editors and reviewers that leads to an improvement of the quality of publications. Another aspect of primary importance concerns the selection of manuscripts, establishing priorities to make the most important research results promptly available to the scientific community, allowing at the same time for a continuous growth of the quality of scientific journals.”
He further explains that a constructive review is a process of shared scientific growth between authors, editors and reviewers. In this process, each of these figures has a well-defined role, integrated into the peer review process, leading to an improvement in the quality of scientific dissemination. The role of the editor and reviewer is essential in providing authors with recommendations on how to raise the quality of manuscripts and facilitate the communication of the results to the scientific community. On the other hand, the review process allows the reviewer to maintain close contact with the progress of scientific activity, with a continuous process of cultural growth.
In an academic surgeon’s daily life, the amount of time left for other tasks as peer review is limited. Dr. Carretta says, “Being a reviewer of scientific manuscripts, especially for high quality journals, is an important activity to keep up with the scientific and cultural evolution. I therefore always try to dedicate a part of my time to this activity, since I consider this continuous cultural exchange useful for my teaching, scientific and clinical activity.”
To Dr. Carretta, the data sharing process will play a crucial role in the next future by improving the accuracy of scientific research, reproducibility of the results and quality of scientific publication. However, he thinks that it is essential for this process to be widely accepted to have common guidelines between the largest possible number of editors, taking into account ethical and legal aspects related to data sharing, especially concerning clinical studies.
Dana T. Graves
Dr. Dana Graves obtained a DDS degree from Columbia University and a Doctor of Medical Sciences degree and residency training in Periodontics from Harvard University. He has published several papers on effects of diabetes on wound healing, bone, and fracture healing with an emphasis on the impact of diabetes-enhanced inflammation. These studies have utilized a number of approaches including the use of inhibitors for their translational value and conditional gene deletion to examine pathogenic mechanisms. Dr. Graves has also studied host-microbial interactions that play an instrumental role in the initiation and progression of periodontal disease, inflammation and soft and hard tissue healing. He is a clinician and a researcher who has studied basic processes that impact clinically important parameters of oral health that exert pathologic effects on epithelium, connective tissue and bone. Dr. Graves is Vice Dean for Research and Scholarship and the founding and current director of the DScD program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and has served as the dissertation mentor to over 25 doctoral students. For Dr. Graves’ profile, please click here.
On peer review, Dr. Graves says, “Peer review is essential to ensure that the experimental approach is appropriate, that the data appears to be sound and includes essential controls, and that the conclusions are consistent with the results obtained. It used to be commonly said that scientific manuscript contains two sections similar to organization found in libraries; the Results section representing the nonfiction wing of the manuscript and the Discussion representing fiction component. With more attention paid to peer review this discrepancy is resolving and the overall quality of science improving.”
Dr. Graves further expands on saying what he thinks reviewers should keep firmly in mind during review: To judge the merit of the work on its own rather than the reputation of the authors; and to make sure that any obvious holes are plugged by critical new data but not to expect a complete series of new experiments that are beyond the scope of the manuscript.
From a reviewer’s perspective, Dr. Grave reiterates the importance of following reporting guidelines (such as STROBE, CONSORT, PRISMA, STARD and CARE), as they are helpful in ensuring that the authors have adhered to accepted practices.