scientific article review example

scientific article review example

The Impact of Scientific Article Reviews

1. Introduction

Scientific progress is characterized by the discovery of new knowledge. This knowledge is validated before it is accepted and used. Assessment of research or knowledge claims by peers is an essential part of the process. Peer review has been defined as “the evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field” (1). This aspect of knowledge validation has occurred throughout history (2). Prior to the emergence of professional scientists, scholars would review each other’s scholarly works (3). There is evidence of this occurring in ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome, and China. The modern process of peer review, however, was developed to evaluate medical research in the mid-20th century (4). Due to previous problems with medical research being false and misleading, physicians and medical researchers began to attempt to separate the good research from the bad (5). This was done by rational discourse and intergroup shared scrutiny to ensure that published papers were sound science (6). The process does not exist to separate the good from the bad science, however, but the credible from the incredible (7). Peer review is now considered to be the most accountable and acceptable form of research evaluation and has now been extended to well beyond medical research and into all fields of academic inquiry.

2. Importance of Scientific Article Reviews

They provide a method for understanding the nature of scientific theories and are used to establish the current state of knowledge in a given field. Review articles are an attempt by one or more individuals to sum up the current state of research on a particular topic. In an ideal world, a review article would include a description of the current state of the art, an explanation of the common misconceptions, a discussion of open questions, and a representation of consensus and uncertainty of the future directions of research. For the article type of a review, the author should first evaluate the current state of the given field. Then the author should explain why the topic is important and what the predictions are for the future. The next section should discuss the limitations of the current knowledge, and the final section should give an explanation of future direction, i.e., where more research is needed. Review articles come in the form of systematic reviews and literature reviews and are a form of secondary literature. Systematic reviews determine an objective list of criteria and find all current research that meets the criteria, while literature reviews provide an overview of the current knowledge. This has a wide range of benefits. A narrow scope will provide the reader with an idea if the article is worth reading to the end, and it will save time by avoiding duplication of research. Due to the wide range of review article types and the differences in quality, one must filter information when reading a review. An article of poor quality will review by article, while an article of good quality will make general statements across the literature. The usefulness of review articles comes from an article that makes general statements of the field, and the highest quality are those that provide new insight. A review article’s bibliography often has many references to it from other articles. This is because review articles are a good source of background information on a particular topic. They are also extremely useful for researchers when trying to find information on an unfamiliar topic or a quick overview of a field. This makes the review article ideal for a survey of current knowledge. In conclusion, review articles are an extremely useful form of article in the rapidly increasing body of science. It is an article that takes a very broad spectrum and uses well-established methods of analysis to give a general conclusion of a certain field. This is often of great benefit to the research community and the general public.

3. Key Elements of a Scientific Article Review

Evaluation: The review should contain an evaluation of the importance of each article to the field. This will often involve the author including his/her own opinions, which can be substantiated by providing evidence to why an article had a profound effect on the field. This is useful as it shows the reader the articles with the most significant results in the field.

Critical analysis: Unlike the traditional (non-review) article, in a review article, it is equally important for the author to present both sides of an argument. This shows a level of objectivity to the writing and will help the reader make informed judgments. Where there are knowledge gaps in the topic, it is useful to indicate to the reader the areas of future research that will likely yield positive results.

Summary: The review should provide the reader with a background to the topic and clearly state the aims of the review at the beginning. This will guide the reader through the review. After this introduction, the review should present up-to-date information about the topic, using a specific organizational pattern that is both logical and easy to follow.

Focused: The most effective reviews consider a narrowly defined topic, so it is important to strive for a coherent review that encapsulates the whole of the topic. It is crucial to be concise with the review article and only include information that is directly related to the topic.

Writing a scientific article review involves several unique elements that may not be encountered in other types of writing. It is essential therefore that a clear understanding of review writing is acquired. Below is a brief list of key elements a scientist should keep in mind while writing a review.

4. Benefits of Engaging in Scientific Article Reviews

Engaging in formal scientific article reviews is also beneficial as it forces the authors to pay special care to the completeness and soundness of their methods and analysis. Again, researchers may be too content-focused to shift gears and pick up new skills in study design and data analysis. The feedback that is provided is immediate and unpublished. It helps the reviewing authors to improve the work and facilitates the reviewers in assessing the quality of their own review expertise. The exchange can also foster a mentoring relationship between senior and junior faculty. Then there is also a social benefit. Many research scientists are isolated from experts in their own field who might be able to provide guidance, and some scientists are interested in learning about areas of science outside their own expertise. On-line exchange related to a scientific article can facilitate a dialog across a broad community of scientists on the specific topic, and can evolve into a long-term virtual relationship, effectively expanding a professional network of like-minded colleagues who share common interests.

5. Conclusion

There are also important implications for the optimal design of peer review processes. If, as our results suggest, authors make improvements in response to reviewer critiques, then the net social value of providing detailed feedback may be greater than the sum of the parts. For example, if reviewers make a list of typos and grammatical errors, providing this list to the author may help to improve the article, although the marginal value of this one particular comment is zero.

The fact that the impact of reviews is quite different from what one would expect based on an economic model of voluntary information provision suggests that authors are responding to social or institutional pressures to produce high-quality work. This has important implications for the welfare of scientists and the scientific community. Although some social pressures to produce better work may be welfare-reducing (the classic example is an arms race), in this case, we have services that improve welfare with authors responding to incentives to improve the quality of work.

Our results show that article reviews do have an impact on the scientific community. Although the impact is delayed, a substantial majority of authors of reviewed articles report that the quality of their work is improved as a result of the review. In addition, there is evidence that reviewers and editors use a variety of signals, particularly article resubmission and acceptance at more prestigious journals, to learn about the quality of articles.

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