By Ryan Leach
On the second day of the 2013 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition, many attendees gathered to learn more about the Journal of Dental Education’s peer review process and the qualities to look for in an ideal manuscript. The 60-minute session was conducted by the JDE’s Editor-in-Chief Nadeem Karimbux, D.M.D., M.M.Sc., and Associate Editor Marita Inglehart, Ph.D.
The session began with a presentation that covered everything from historical perspectives on scholarly publishing to effective communication techniques, from the correct structure of a manuscript to a listing of the common reasons why submissions fail. Despite being presented by members of the JDE editorial staff, the session mostly provided general advice that would apply to almost all medical and scientific journals. In addition, the presentation aimed to assist reviewers at all levels of experience; both seasoned professionals and those new to academic publishing were sure to find something of interest in the wide variety of topics discussed.
Dr. Karimbux started the presentation by situating the JDE within the historical context of scholarly publishing and the peer review process before delving into the importance of peer-reviewed publications and the necessity of publishing in the contemporary world of academia. Given the nature of the JDE, the future of the journal weighs heavily on establishing an efficient and high-quality system of peer review, hence the need for this workshop at the 2013 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition.
After Dr. Karimbux’s introduction, Dr. Inglehart stressed the stylistic considerations necessary to promote a healthy partnership between reviewers and authors. To foster an ideal environment for peer review, the process needs constructive criticism that assists, rather than attacks, the author. According to Dr. Inglehart, this can be achieved through the application of four general principles: (1) express empathy and appreciation, (2) develop discrepancy, (3) roll with resistance, and (4) support self-efficacy. In so doing, the reviewer will be able to provide feedback that the author will be more likely to appreciate and take into consideration.
Dr. Karimbux finished up the presentation by explicating the internal structure of the peer-review system and delineating the particular aspects of a submitted manuscript that require review. After a quick tutorial of the JDE’s review template, the participants were divided into several groups, each of which was given a different manuscript. The participants then performed group reviews of the manuscripts before coming back together as a whole and discussing the particular issues each group faced.
At the end of the session, all were invited to attend the Journal of Dental Education Reviewer Appreciation Reception in the Metropolitan Foyer of the Sheraton Hotel. The evening event provided a comfortable and social space for the participants to
realize Dr. Inglehart’s expressed idea that “we are all educators” and that a collaborative effort is necessary to promote high-quality work.