Reviewer of the Month (2023)

Posted On 2023-09-15 18:30:23

In 2023, LS reviewers continue to make 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.

June, 2023
Mario Cuesta Argos, Hospital Germans Trias I Pujol, Spain

July, 2023
Ahmed Abdelsamad, Evangelisches Krankenhaus, Germany

June, 2023

Mario Cuesta Argos

Dr. Mario Cuesta Argos is a pediatric surgeon currently working at Hospital Germans Trias I Pujol in Badalona (Spain). He completed his training at the Sant Joan de Deu Hospital in Barcelona, with subsequent specialization in the area of surgical oncology at the same center. Currently, he focuses his professional career on pediatric urology, developing this area in his new center: development of flexible endourology with adult instrumentation adapted to the pediatric patient, disorders of sexual differentiation, as a national reference center and functional urinary pathology, creating the biofeedback management unit.

In Dr. Argos’s view, peer review allows exchange of knowledge among professionals with different ways of acting in their daily professional life. In this way, scientific publications are more adapted to real clinical practice.

Dr. Argos reckons that the published results always reflect the reality of the author. Thus, their reproducibility is not always exact in all centers due to their population biases. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that the unfavorable results of certain treatments are equally necessary to publish, and not only those with favorable results.

Though the burden of being a doctor is heavy, Dr. Argos allocates his time of work and life in balance. He says, “Many times, the research work of professionals depends on our own free time, but the care load does not allow it in any other way. Public health programs should dedicate resources to improving the quality of professionals, assuming that part of their work routine should be dedicated to research, and not depend only on the doctor's own will.”

Dr. Argos believes that the pharmaceutical industry is always an important determining factor in the medical world. There are numerous population biases inherent to the pathology, so they should not add more that depend on the treatment. Studies with conflict of interest will always be focused on promoting their sponsor, and therefore, will only show favorable results, while unfavorable ones will not be published. Scientific publication must be honest, clear and global.

(By Lareina Lim, Brad Li)

July, 2023

Ahmed Abdelsamad

Dr. Ahmed Abdelsamad, MD, M.Sc. MHBA, is the Section Head of the Department of Robotic/Oncologic Surgery at Evangelisches Krankenhaus in Lippstadt, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He got the master degree of science in general surgery in Egypt in 2013. And he got the Doctor degree of Medicine in Germany in 2022. His expertise is in oncologic, MIS and robotic GIT surgery, including upper GIT surgery (including GERD management, AEG cancers and hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery) and colorectal surgery. His research focuses on colorectal surgery to improve and optimize oncologic outcomes and give patients a better quality of life.

Dr. Abdelsamad thinks that though reviewing a paper takes time, the time invested benefits not only the authors but also the reviewers. Reviewers are expected to provide a timely, professional review, critical evaluation but not correct poor English grammar. The area of weakness in many papers, which occurs with new authors as well as authors who have not written peer-reviewed papers since years, is the linkage to other papers. Here, reviewers should ask authors to add more specific references that put their work in context, or to link to papers that suggest a different process or assessment. A good reviewer may suggest some relevant and necessary references beyond those of his or her own working group.

Reviewers should evaluate the correctness of the assignments, conclusions, and theory, according to Dr. Abdelsamad. When a reviewer has been selected, this means that the associate editor has determined that he or she is familiar with the topic of the paper or that he or she uses best practices. Innovative ideas that may not be brought to market in our field today may do so in the future or have great impact in other areas of science and technology.

Dr. Abdelsamad reckons that the limitations of the existing peer-review system, is that peer review does not always result in a better product. It is prone to social bias, prejudice, and conflicts of interest. Sometimes peer review takes obviously too much time, which significantly delays publication. Sometimes there are only a limited number of experts in the same field for peer review. The reviewers do the peer review for free even though they are busy with other academic tasks that delay the peer-review process.

He puts forward some measures to improve peer-review system:

  1. Ask reviewers to evaluate and comment on the most important elements of the manuscript.
  2. Provide ongoing training for auditors in a variety of formats and include required training at appropriate intervals.
  3. Provide feedback and share the editorial decision and written comments of all reviewers with each reviewer and encourage self-evaluation.
  4. Systematically evaluate the quality of each review, giving preference to reviewers who consistently perform well.
  5. Invite young researchers to serve as reviewers and encourage the best reviewers to attend joint meetings with trainees.

From a reviewer’s perspective, Dr. Abdelsamad believes that it is important for authors to follow reporting guidelines (e.g., STROBE and CARE) during preparation of their manuscripts. These guidelines provide not only suggestions for manuscript preparation, but also guidelines for ethical issues related to publication. Many editorial boards and reputable international journals have adopted these guidelines to improve the quality and methodology of their scientific reports. These standards improved also the transparency, clarity, and completeness of the scientific literature. Since the adoption of these standards by many journals, the quality of RCT reporting has continued to advance.

(By Lareina Lim, Brad Li)