Tips and tricks from expert reviewers at AUA journals.
Getting an early look at the latest research is just one of the perks of being a reviewer for top AUA journals. Being a reviewer is also an opportunity to help shape research papers and clinical trial reports that can have a direct impact on urology and patient care.
“Part of the appeal of being a reviewer is being able to see research, to see the newest ideas that are coming out and then ask constructive questions to make it better or more relevant,” said Samuel L. Washington III, MD, MAS, assistant professor of urology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). “In academics, being a reviewer appeals to one’s intellectual curiosity.”
Dr. Washington is a top reviewer for JU Open Plus. Like many reviewers, his mentors got him started on the experience. A review request came to the mentor, who declined but passed the opportunity on to Dr. Washington. Then came the next review, and the next and the next.
“When you get asked to do reviews, say yes,” advised Lindsay A. Hampson, MD, MAS, associate professor of urology, associate chair of education and associate director of the Urology Residency Program at UCSF. “When editors see that you provide a good review, they will continue to ask you to contribute, not just by asking you to do reviews, but also asking for your perspective through an editorial commentary. I love that doing a review can also turn an article from something that won’t be accepted into something that will. Sometimes you make suggestions for changes and end up getting the manuscript back for a second review. You can be amazed at how much better, more coherent, more focused the manuscript is after they have incorporated reviewers’ comments.”
Dr. Hampson is a top reviewer for Urology Practice®. Mentors can be an important entrée into the world of journal reviews, but so can prior experience. Her first reviews grew out of work she had done in health policy and ethics before enrolling in medical school.
“I had a past research background in these areas, which helped me look like a good match for policy and ethics-related research,” she explained. “As a result, I’ve been able to offer a unique perspective.”
Any urologist with a publishing record has the same advantage, Dr. Hampson added. Publishing on a topic alerts associate editors at that particular journal that you have expertise they can use.
“If you want to review for a journal, first publish,” agreed Yaw Nyame, MD, MS, MBA, assistant professor of urology and Community Outreach and Engagement Program lead at the Fred Hutch Cancer Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Writing editorials or articles with a mentor allows people on the editorial team to recognize you at the same time it helps you learn a framework and methodology.”
Dr. Nyame is a top reviewer for The Journal of Urology®.
“Another thing that will help is in your account information at the journals that are important to you,” he explained. “If you want to review manuscripts, always check that box that says ‘I am willing to review.’ Journal staff will remember you.”