Just like our primary research journals, the Trends journals rely on peer review to evaluate whether our manuscripts are suitable for publication. One comment that we Trends editors hear a lot, though, is that the specific process for reviewing a review is not necessarily obvious. If you’re reviewing for Cell or Immunity or Joule, you are evaluating whether a study’s methodology is sound, whether the data support the conclusions, and if there’s any new fundamental insight to be gained. But what about review articles?
I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about reviewing reviews, trying to clarify our language around reviewer instructions and develop some better standards for them. I’d like to describe some of my current thinking about how to review a review, and I hope this will be a useful resource for anyone who’s been invited to review a Trends manuscript. As a quick disclaimer, while I’ve talked to many of the Trends journal editors about their experiences and their preferences, I can’t speak decisively for how peer review works in any journal but TIBTECH. If you have a specific question about your review assignment, always feel free to reach out to the editor!
I’m going to start this month by talking briefly about who we like to invite as reviewers and then try to persuade you that reviewing a review article is a worthwhile investment of your time. Then, in my next post, I’ll talk more about how to review reviews.