Reviewer of the Month (2022)

Posted On 2023-08-14 16:53:56

In 2022, JGO 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.

April, 2022
Charupong Saengboonmee, Khon Kaen University, Thailand

November, 2022
Meng-Han Tsai, Augusta University, USA

December, 2022
Jessica E Maxwell, MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA

April, 2022

Charupong Saengboonmee

Charupong Saengboonmee, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand, and is also affiliated with the Center for Translational Medicine of The Faculty of Medicine, and Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute of Khon Kaen University. His research areas involve the molecular biology of cancer, mainly focused on the intracellular signaling and molecular mechanisms underlying associations between metabolic disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus, obesity, etc.) and hepatobiliary tract cancers. Cancer metabolisms and alternative cancer treatment using natural products are also within his interest. As a physician-researcher, the epidemiological studies on metabolic disorders and cancers are also within the scope of his research.

Speaking of the essential qualities of a reviewer, Dr. Saengboonmee thinks that they should have a qualification, at least by having competent degree(s) that guarantee their research experience (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., etc.) or having conducted the research in the related fields they are willing to review. Reviewers should also have enough updated knowledge and understand the nature of the fields they are reviewing. They should also be open-minded and be able to give a constructive review with minimal biases.

In Dr. Saengboonmee’s opinion, institutional review board (IRB) approval helps protect the rights of volunteers who participate in a study. As readers of the research outcomes, we cannot know whether the results we are paying attention to in the papers are derived from studies concerned about human rights and humanely protecting the participating subjects. The process of IRB helps ensure that the research processes do not violate human rights and dignity. If this process is omitted, it could be doubtful and suspicious for the process of study, which could compromise the quality and integrity of the study reports. The IRB approval declaration should thus be a minimal requirement in every study involving human subjects and for publication in standard journals.

Volunteering to peer review scientific manuscripts is a way for me to help maintain the integrity of scientific research, which I believe is a merit of all general scientists. I also benefit from being a peer reviewer sometimes, for I can keep myself abreast of the updated knowledge on what interests me and what's new in related research areas,” says Dr. Saengboonmee.

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)

November, 2022

Meng-Han Tsai

Dr. Meng-Han Tsai is an Assistant Professor at Georgia Prevention Institute, Augusta University, Augusta, USA. Her major research focuses on colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, surveillance, and outcomes. Currently, Dr. Tsai’s research focuses on the time trends of CRC incidence/mortality and predictors of CRC survival/outcome by integrating multiple data sources among Georgians. She also examines multiple factors in social determinants of health, quality of life, and the presence of chronic diseases that were associated with CRC screening uptake for secondary cancer prevention among cancer survivors. Her long-term goal of research is to increase the awareness of cancer prevention and improve healthcare access among minority/underserved populations, especially for those impacted by colorectal cancer. Connect with Dr. Tsai on LinkedIn.

Biases are inevitable in peer review. To minimize any potential biases during review, Dr. Tsai usually reviews assigned manuscripts a few times before she makes suggestions to journals. Further, she also reviews the feedback from other reviewers to verify if her suggestions are reasonable, which she believes will help her next review. To her, double-blinded peer review, which has been implemented in many journals, maybe a good strategy to reduce potential biases during the review process.

As a reviewer, Dr. Tsai considers Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure a necessary and important step. It may impact research projects in many ways, including study design, data interpretation, and implications. Thus, it is important to identify any potential biases when we conduct any research projects. Institutional review board (IRB) approval is an essential step to make sure research subjects are protected and with minimal risk. All studies, including retrospective studies, are encouraged to submit to IRB review.

Peer review is an important process for sharing different perspectives with other researchers in similar fields. This process can assure research quality in many aspects, such as study design, data analysis, and implications. Particularly, it is an important process to make sure whether study purpose connects with analytic method and outcomes. The major reason is that we frequently find the study topic is important but lacks connection with methods and results,” says Dr. Tsai.

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)

December, 2022

Jessica E Maxwell

Dr. Jessica E Maxwell is a surgical oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center who treats patients with pancreas malignancies and GI neuroendocrine tumours. She completed her General Surgery residency at the University of Iowa and spent two years as an NIH T32 Research Fellow. Her published research focused on the genetic underpinnings of gastrointestinal NETs and surgical outcomes of NET cytoreduction. She completed a fellowship in Complex General Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson and stayed as a member of the HPB Surgery section. She won the NANETS Young Investigator award in 2021 and is studying the neuroendocrine tumour microenvironment, with a goal of translating the work at the bench into clinical trials and novel therapies to improve the lives of NET patients. Connect with Dr. Maxwell through Twitter @JMaxCutsNETs.

Healthy peer review, in Dr. Maxwell’s opinion, requires participation of those with a diversity of experience and expertise. Reviewers should bring up issues and ideas that the authors had not conceived of, and authors must receive critique with a humility that allows for deeper exploration and development of their hypotheses. She adds, “Creating a concise, thoughtful review is an art. It takes practice and mentorship to get good at it. We should be doing a better job incorporating our trainees into this process to ensure continuity and quality. Particularly as more and more journals spin-off and expand publishing opportunities, we should strive to maintain high peer-review standards while bringing more diverse voices into the fold.”

Despite peer reviewing being anonymous and non-profitable, Dr. Maxwell is keen on doing so. She explains, “It’s great to read a well-written paper, levy an opinion or two, and know that in some small way, your review may improve patient care.”

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)