Over the year, many MAP 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 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.
Beatrice Bretherton, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK
Dr. Beatrice Bretherton currently works as a Research Fellow in the Pain Management Department at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK, on projects evaluating the efficacy and safety of spinal cord stimulation in chronic pain conditions. She is also a visiting Research Fellow in the School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK. She worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant with Prof. Jim Deuchars and Dr. Susan Deuchars at the University of Leeds, UK, on a project investigating the effects of non-invasive electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve on autonomic function, mood and quality of life in volunteers aged 55 years and older (2019). She pursued a PhD at the University of Leeds with Prof. Luke Windsor and Prof. Jim Deuchars to investigate the effects of music and non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve on autonomic function and emotion (2018). She completed her BSc Hons in Psychology at the University of Stirling, UK (2014).
Peer review plays an important role in science, according to Dr. Bretherton. It helps to make sure meaningful research questions are asked, valid research methods are implemented, data are collected and analysed appropriately, and the results are interpreted in an accurate way, to help with advancing knowledge.
In Dr. Bretherton’s opinion, there are numerous aspects reviewers bear in mind when reviewing papers. For instance, it is important to ensure research has adhered to the relevant ethical standards and reporting guidelines. In addition, the quality, completeness and appropriateness of the research methods, data, analyses and conclusions are assessed. The merit of the research is also an important aspect to consider, including in research which may replicate prior methodologies and/or show unexpected results, as well as in ground-breaking research.
As a reviewer, Dr. Bretherton emphasizes the need for authors to disclose conflicts of interest (COI). First, it encourages transparency and provides the opportunity to minimize the risk of compromising the integrity of research. Also, it allows editors, reviewers and readers to evaluate impartiality and any potential biases. When identifying and inviting peer reviewers, it is also important to consider reviewer’s COI and ensure they are properly disclosed.
“As an author, gaining feedback from peer reviewers has been highly valuable, enabling me to learn about how to accurately communicate research with readers. Peer reviewing therefore provides me with the opportunity to give back aspects I have learned to other researchers, to pursue the progression of scientific knowledge”, says Dr. Bretherton.
(By Brad Li, Eunice X. Xu)