Reviewer of the Month (2021)

Posted On 2021-06-11 15:27:09

Over the year, many TGH reviewers have made 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, 2021
Ingrid Hickman, University of Queensland, Australia

April, 2021

Ingrid J. Hickman

A/Prof. Ingrid Hickman is an Advanced Accredited Practicing Dietitian with a PhD in metabolic medicine from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. For the last 10 years, she has led a multidisciplinary clinical research team as the principal research fellow with the Nutrition and Dietetic Department at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Her career has focused on translating scientific evidence supporting ‘food as medicine’ into improved clinical care for people with chronic metabolic conditions. From mechanisms of disease progression through to patient centred co-design of health services, A/Prof Hickman’s eclectic approach to medical research aims to find solutions to health care problems and build research capacity in clinical staff. Her most recent focus of research has been investigating improved models of care for integrating technology into the service model for lifestyle interventions for people with chronic liver disease and liver transplant recipients. To learn more about A/Prof. Hickman, you may connect with her on Twitter @ingrid_hickman.

To A/Prof. Hickman, peer review is a critical process to ensure the quality of scientific reporting before it reaches a broader academic audience. It is important that peer review acts as a constructive critique of the methodologies and interpretation of results and highlights aspects of the article which may be strengthened or improved to make it the best paper it can possibly be.

A/Prof. Hickman further elaborates on what she considers as a good or bad review. A constructive review is one that allows the authors to address any omissions in the article which might have raised questions for the reviewer. This gives the authors an opportunity to remove any gaps in the results and provide a more thorough report of the scientific process. It is also important to recognize the time and cost of undertaking the research and ensuring any reviewer requests are feasible to address once the study is already complete. On the contrary, a destructive review is one that attacks the scientist rather than the science and does not promote the vision of sharing all scientific discoveries, big and small, to add to the collective knowledge of the field.

As a reviewer and author, A/Prof. Hickman sees the importance for authors to follow reporting guidelines. To her, following reporting guidelines will ultimately improve the ability to undertake systematic literature reviews and meta-analysis when studies report outcomes in a systematic way. There are many fields, like hers in nutrition and metabolism, that suffer from poor reporting and this impacts negatively on replication and repeatability which is critical to the translatability of research.

I am often excited to read about data before it is published and enjoy playing a role in helping disseminate good quality science, but I also understand that for my own research to be published, others must review it, and so I am also motivated by a ‘what goes around comes around’ mentality when it comes to my reviewing activity. However, the sustainability of voluntary peer review is unclear with the unrelenting time pressures on medical researchers today,” says A/Prof. Hickman.

(By Brad Li, Eunice X. Xu)