Dr. Solomon on Publishing from a Journal’s Perspective

Dr. Solomon, an author, expert reviewer and editor gave medical students experience driven advice on February 13th, 2013.  Dr. Solomon first informed the students of his expertise and then opened the floor to questions. Often reviewers struggle with giving constructive feedback to the authors; to this, Dr. Solomon noted it is important to be specific.

“Focus on how to improve the article rather than criticizing.”

An example given was instead of telling authors their power is low, suggest other statistical methods to improve the paper. For the former, authors have spent months on detailing this paper and unfortunately cannot go back in time.  A major discussion point of the lecture was having an open feedback system in which the authors can see who the reviewer is, their credentials and vice-a-versa. This sparked a lively debate among the students and Dr. Solomon as both pros and cons were laid out. It was noted reviewers would give more constructive feedback to authors if there was no blinding; however, since the scientific community is very small, judgment and one’s own objectives may interfere with the process. Finally, Dr. Solomon had recommended the reviewers remain appraised through the whole review of the article. The reviewers should see other reviewer’s feedback and should know the ultimate decision for the article. This was extremely helpful and journal may implement this in the future.

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Senior Editor
Bobby Sahil Gambhir is a third year medical student at the College of Human Medicine of Michigan State University. He completed an Honors Specialization in Medical Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. He remains undecided in his choice of specialty but is confident academic medicine will be pursued throughout his life. He has served on a number of leadership committees and strives for academic excellence.

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