Reviewer of the Month (2023)

Posted On 2023-08-11 10:54:39

In 2023, JPHE 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.

March, 2023
Sinan Chen, Kobe University, Japan

May, 2023
Kumara San Ward, University of Dundee, UK

July, 2023
Jessica Reuter, Ohio State University, USA

August, 2023
Patrick Raynal, University of Toulouse-Jean-Jaurès, France

November, 2023
Kimberly B. Werner, University of Missouri, USA

December, 2023
Bradley A. Long, Pennsylvania State University, USA

March, 2023

Sinan Chen

Prof. Sinan Chen received his ME and PhD degrees in Computational Science from Kobe University, Japan in 2019 and 2021, respectively. He worked at Kobe University as a research fellow (PD) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in the first half of 2022. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Center of Mathematical and Data Science Center at Kobe University, Japan. He is a member of the IEEE, ACM, Sigma Xi, CAAI, and IEICE. His research interests include the smart home, cloud computing, machine learning, and software engineering. He is currently researching applied informatics to improve real-world problems, such as developing a home care assistive system that integrates computer vision and virtual agents, and working to create high-performance and new designs by upcycling software assets. He is also exploring cutting-edge educational methods for the fusion of humanities, sciences, and interdisciplinary research. Learn more about Prof. Chen on Researchmap.

Peer review plays a significant role in the development of science. To Dr. Chen, it is significant especially in the development of academics by opening up avenues for unrestricted guidance. “The greatest attraction of science is its ability to be continuously debated and explored, and open peer review is one way to do that,” says Dr. Chen.

Dr. Chen stresses that the authenticity and validity of research ethics should be considered when one is peer-reviewing papers. There may be a big difference between theoretical and applied research, but to him, it is also essential to honestly judge whether the paper has even a small amount of progress in the development of human science.

As a scholar, Dr. Chen has to allocate his efforts to education, research, and social activities, but he says that having to do peer review is the mission of his position. He often treats peer review as an activity similar to reading the newspaper in the morning and stating his points of view while researching and thinking.

Speaking of research data sharing, Dr. Chen shares, “I have no objection to sharing research data in scientific papers as long as it doesn't touch on privacy and security issues. However, rather than sharing research data, sharing ideas, so-called concept structures, is more valuable. Although data are said to be the oil of the 21st century, their roots (i.e., key/core method for mining) are more important than anything else.”

(By Wei-En Fan and Brad Li)

May, 2023

Kumara San Ward

Dr. Kumara San Ward works at University of Dundee, UK. Her research is focused on human/nature connection, acknowledging that our health and wellbeing is intrinsically integrated with the health and wellbeing of the planet. To this end, she has conducted research with a range of age groups from early childhood to adults to identify ways in which engagement in the natural world can be enhanced and the impact of this engagement. Post humanist considerations have become key to her research as they de-center the human and recognize the integral and reciprocal relationships they have. Her motivation for this research is based on the need for humankind to recognize this integrated nature and for it to become a factor in decision making about the way in which they live and the resources they use to support our existence. This in turn will support just transitions to low carbon modes of living – a necessary process for regenerative living on earth. Connect with Dr. Ward on Twitter @KumaraWard.

Dr. Ward reckons that the peer-review process helps to reassure the reader that the information they are engaged with has a basis in research and scholarly understanding. It is not simply the opinion of the writer. She explains, “Our ideas are built upon those of others before us. With this in mind, we need to acknowledge where they come from, represent them truthfully and show how our own work builds upon what is already known.”

Peer reviewing is often anonymous, but Dr. Ward is keenly aware that her work is painstakingly reviewed by others and they take time to undertake this task. She thinks that the feedback given is often very helpful, can suggest new ways of thinking about a topic and/or additional resources to consider – thereby improving her own knowledge of the topic. She hopes to return this service to the academic community by peer reviewing as often as possible.

Dr. Ward emphasizes that research must be conducted ethically. Most empirical research engages with humans and/or other living beings. She continues, “We have a duty of care to ensure our research does no harm and is worth doing, progressing our understandings. We also have a debt to those who engage in research with us – without them, it would not be possible.”

(By Lareina Lim, Brad Li)

July, 2023

Jessica Reuter

Dr. Jessica Reuter is an assistant clinical professor of practice at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She teaches in the traditional undergraduate program as well as the RN to BSN program. Dr. Reuter holds a certification in evidenced-based practice and is a certified health and wellness coach. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Reuter leads a perioperative specialty elective to prepare nursing students to work in the perioperative setting directly after graduation. Identifying the benefits of this program and publishing the results of the outcomes has been the focus of her work the last 5 years.

Dr. Reuter emphasizes that peer review is important because it is a check and balance system. It ensures that all writing will not focus on just one or two hot topics. It also provides strength to articles because the reviewer checks the process the author used to get results and findings and makes sure the process was rigorous.

At the same time, Dr. Reuter points out that reviewers need to keep in mind that they may review papers that are not in their direct specialty or area of research. However, this gives a new set of eyes to the article so that the reviewer can influence the writing to be understood by all levels of nurses. “When one begins publishing, it opens a new set of doors to disseminate your work and passion. It is a very creative and personal process to put your ideas and work into published literature. It is important to continue this work. Take pride in the fact that you are adding to a body of knowledge that can lead to better healthcare and patient outcomes,” she adds.

In addition, Dr. Reuter indicates that there are many examples in history of unethical experiments and research being done on vulnerable populations. Application for institutional review board (IRB) approval is important because it helps maintain ethical boundaries in research. Without IRBs, there would be no oversight on how research is conducted or how much harm could come to patients.

(By Lareina Lim, Brad Li)

August, 2023

Patrick Raynal

Patrick Raynal is a research scientist in a French research institute (Inserm) and currently works in the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches en Psychopathologie et Psychologie de la Santé of University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France. He was initially trained as a biochemist and studied cell signaling during the first part of his career, including a post-doctoral position at the National Institutes of Health (USA). Recently, his research activities were reoriented to human sciences and psychology, with various collaborative projects including personality traits, eating behaviors, addiction or parenting. As a reviewer, he evaluated over 170 manuscripts for a wide variety of journals, spanning from biochemistry and cell biology to psychopathology and psychiatry. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Dr. Raynal considers that his duty as a reviewer is to make sure that a manuscript that will be eventually published article is based on reliable methods, sound results and thoughtful interpretations, and is written to be easily understandable to the average reader. Unfortunately, he reviews a significant proportion of manuscripts submitted to a variety of journals that, in his opinion, are far from matching these criteria, due probably to the lack of care/guidance/supervision from author(s). In these cases, it would take him days to make a constructive review and he believes that this is rather the job of coauthors, notably supervisor(s), than that of reviewers. In these cases, he considers that his duty is to list specific major issues of a given manuscript, so that the journal editor can make an appropriate editorial decision.

As a full-time research scientist in an academic research institute, Dr. Raynal regards reviewing as part of his duties and one of his contributions to scientific knowledge, even though it remains modest. Besides, he does not see how scientific progress could work without peer reviewing.

Lastly, Dr. Raynal points out that it is becoming very important that authors share crude data, in order to increase transparency and reproducibility of findings. Hopefully, this could also help to minimize bias in laboratories that have great ambitions or high pressure for findings/publication.

(by Lareina Lim, Brad Li)

November, 2023

Kimberly B. Werner

Dr. Kimberly Werner, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Research at the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) College of Nursing. She is also the Chair of the UMSL Institutional Review Board (IRB) for human subjects’ protection. She has extensive experience in quantitative research/data analyses and interdisciplinary training in program evaluation, experimental psychology, clinical treatment outcome trials, and addiction epidemiology with a focus on disparities in the association of chronic and traumatic stress exposure on substance involvement and risky behaviors. She has been funded by federal (i.e., National Institute of Health, Department of Justice, and Veterans Administration) and state (i.e., Missouri Department of Mental Health). Dr. Werner’s current research includes investigation of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder in women survivors of intimate partner violence including treatment efficiency for this population. She is also currently the PI of a gender-based violence programming grant. Learn more about her here.

From Dr. Werner’s perspective, a healthy peer-review system for scholarly publications includes open communication, robust scientific consideration, and collegiality at all levels. Open and transparent conversation, including timely review and update of status is essential. Robust scientific consideration includes unbiased review processes, blinded, when possible, as well as clear review criteria, ethical standards, and consistent editorial oversight. Finally, and potentially most important, is collegiality – ensuring that feedback and reviews are constructive and advance the state of the science forward.

Dr. Werner reckons that Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology (JPHE) covers a comprehensive, but focused and essential area of academic scholarship that provides relevant and timely research nationally and internationally. The work that is published in JPHE is important for moving health-focused research forward and is relevant to both her and her students’ work.

Reviewing for ethically aligned journals that value the peer-review process is part of our obligation to the scientific community. Serving as reviewers ensures that scholarship remains strong, relevant, and innovative and the foundation of the scientific community remains sound,” says Dr. Werner.

(by Lareina Lim, Brad Li)

December, 2023

Bradley A. Long

Mr. Bradley A. Long, MSLS, is the Embedded Health Sciences Librarian at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine – University Park Regional Campus. His primary area of research is medical misinformation, with an emphasis on COVID-19 misinformation. Learn more about him here.

Mr. Long thinks that peer reviewing is one of the most vital links in the publication process. A good peer reviewer can help improve the quality of an article, and even help encourage future research. He wants to help dispel the myth that peer reviewers are only looking for reasons to reject an article.

In Mr. Long’s opinion, a peer-review system is healthy when the peer reviewer takes the time to thoroughly read the article, looking for both strengths and weakness. Then the reviewer takes the time to provide constructive feedback on how to improve the article, regardless of the recommendation to editor. It is also imperative that the editor and reviewers have a good professional relationship, even if it is often just a virtual one. It not only helps the editor make an informed final decision on the publication, but also provides the editor with the knowledge of one’s peer review skills, for future reference. Finally, as a librarian, he reckons that it is his duty to ensure that the references are actually in proper format (to better help the readers locate these publications) and that they are relevant to submission itself.

It was a little bit intimidating doing my first COVID-19 peer review. At first, I was not sure if I was the right person for the job. However, I realized that someone needed to step up and conduct this peer review, because a number of their regular peer reviewers were too busy with their own COVID-19 research. Plus, it was my opportunity to demonstrate that subject-specialist librarians can also be valuable reviewers – especially with submissions where the non-native language authors,” says Mr. Long.

(by Lareina Lim, Brad Li)