Tips & Tricks

Reviewing a medical research paper may be difficult without some tips & tricks. Here are our tips & tricks, but if there is something else you would like to address, just send us an e-mail.

Tips and tricks – Reviewing a medical research paper

In a process of reviewing papers, please refer to the following points:

  • Consider your relationship with the authors, to ensure the credibility of the process, reviewers should not have a conflict of interest with the authors they review. In this situation you should contact us.
  • Is the work relevant and interesting for EJM?
  • Are the objectives appropriate and clearly stated?
  • Is the data valid?
  • Are the conclusions valid and properly supported?
  • Is the existing work on the subject adequately described?
  • Is the paper organized, logical?
  • Does the abstract clearly conveys the message of the paper?
  • Is the paper well written and easily understood? (Is this also easily readable by a student without any prior knowledge) 
  • Are all sections needed, or could they be shortened.
  • Is this science reliable? Be aware of ethical issues such as plagiarism.

Comments should be detailed, specific, and polite. Give detailed comments. Mentoring the authors includes helping authors improve the paper under review and papers that they might write in the future. Avoid vague complaints and provide appropriate citations if authors are unaware of relevant work.

Please treat a manuscript received for review as confidential document and do not discuss the content of this paper with others. To maintain the validity of this process, you should never contact the authors about the paper under review.

The review process serves two important functions: providing guidance to authors and informing publication and presentation decisions. So it is important that you give comments to the authors and to the editor.

EJM is committed to rapid editorial decisions and publication. We request that reviewers return their comments within the time indicated at invitation. If any unanticipated difficulties arise that may prevent you from submitting the review on time, contact us by sending an email. You are welcome to contact us if you have any questions.

A short checklist for reviewers of translational scientific medical research

Representativeness and clinical relevance
  1. What was the rationale for the study?
  2. What is the research question?
  3. Is the study population well described?.
  4. Is the study population representative for the clinical problem in everyday practice?
  5. What is the main finding? Does the main conclusion match with the research question?
  6. Does the paper provide new insights into the mode of action of a drug or intervention, or into the pathophysiology or mechanism of disease in this population or animal model?
  7. Do these findings have any relevance for clinical practice or everyday life?
  1. What is the design of the study (case-series, cohort study, case-control study, randomized trial).
  2. What is the determinant and what is the outcome?
  3. Were clinically relevant outcome measures used? Were assessment methods reproducible?
  4. Were all included subjects also included in the analysis, and was follow-up complete?
  5. Blinding: was the assessment of the determinant, intervention and outcome done independently of each other?
  6. Were confounding factors identified, and were they evenly distributed between those with and without the determinant, or was a correction made for this.

International checklists

CONSORT statement: CONsolidated Standards of Reporting Trials, or transparent reporting of clinical trials
STARD statement: STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies
PRISMA statement (transparent reporting of meta-analyses and systematic reviews)
CAMARADES statement (collaborative approach to meta-analysis and review of animal data from experimental studies)