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Peer review is a key component of the current academic publishing landscape, and yet, the vast majority of early career scientists never receive formal training on how to conduct such reviews. PEERSPECTIVES, a semester-long course for PhD students in the health data sciences, aims to change this using a hybrid structure of interactive workshops and hands-on, mentored group reviews of “live” manuscripts. Students who complete the semester-long curriculum developed by experienced editors will not only learn skills needed to critically appraise scientific papers and generate high quality peer reviews, but will also gain critical insights into the scientific publishing system as a whole. This training is of extreme relevance and importance to our target group of up-and-coming scientists, the large majority of whom will complete publication-based PhD dissertations. To evaluate whether the completion of this program within the ongoing doctoral studies framework has an effect on the quality of peer-review among motivated doctoral students, we will run a confirmatory study with pre-/post- assessment.

Webpage Causal methOds and NeuroVascular Epidemiology Research Group (CONVERGE)
Webpage Institute of Public Health
Twitter: @JLRohmann @IPHBerlin

What is the main goal of your project?

We want to improve conduct, quality and usefulness of peer-reviews in the biomedical science by offering an extensive hands-on course on the topic: PEERSPECTIVES.

What are you most proud of so far?

We received ethics approval for the evaluation study and enrolled 16 PhD students in the first cohort.

What have been your greatest challenges so far?

We needed to adapt the privacy and data protection aspects of this program to the COVID-19 situation, as well as perform coordination with the various editor-mentors during Covid times.

What are your plans in the coming months?

We are planning to conduct hands-on reviews of four live papers and enroll another 2 cohorts of students in 2021.