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Effect of using reporting guidelines during peer review on quality of final manuscripts submitted to a biomedical journal: masked randomised trial

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d6783 (Published 22 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6783

Re: Effect of using reporting guidelines during peer review on quality of final manuscripts submitted to a biomedical journal: masked randomised trial

I commend Cobo et al. for their excellent trial investigating the use of reporting guidelines during peer review. Recently, I was invited to peer review an article for the BMJ section 10-minute clinical consultation. It was a privilege to review the article, and as a kind gesture to reviewers, BMJ offers a year’s online subscription to bmj.com that you can pass on to a colleague if you already have a subscription. As a professional student (medical school and now graduate studies), access to medical journals is rarely an issue, one that I take for granted.

In medical school, I completed a medical elective in Uganda and still keep in regular contact with several doctors. I contacted one of the physicians doing paediatric specialty training in Kampala at the infamous Mulago Hospital (if you haven’t heard of it, watch the movie “The Last King of Scotland”) and doing brilliant research on risk factors for stroke in children with sickle cell anaemia. I was embarrassed to offer the BMJ subscription, concerned that he may find it patronising. Surprisingly, he did not and expressed sincere gratitude for the offer. Beyond the one-year subscription, this contact stimulated further discussion about his research interests and I subsequently sent him several additional articles that he was unable to access.

In the future if you peer review an article for the BMJ and receive a similar email, instead of simply discarding the email, consider who might benefit from a one-year subscription.

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 November 2011
Peter J Gill
DPhil Candidate
University of Oxford
Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, 2nd floor, 23-38 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford OX1 2ET