Scholarly Practice

Scholarly Secrets: How to Peer Review

Originally presented on Friday, July 17, 2020

Peer review has become increasingly important as a key academic skill. In academic health sciences, it can be a matter of life and death since it is often the role of the peer reviewer to detect errors in the papers that we review and prevent them from entering the patient care realm. This skill, however, is variably taught. In this MacPFD event, we have assembled a team of journal editors with diverse backgrounds to speak to the skill of peer reviewing. Our panel has ample experience with peer review from all angles - each is a published author, an avid peer reviewer, and a member of one (or more) editorial boards!

In this recorded webinar, we hope to help you find out how we can improve peer review and how it doesn’t just have to be a service to others!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Learning Objectives

At the end of this activity, learners will be able to: 

Resources suggested by the panel:


Dr. Van Spall (@hvanspall) completed her Doctor of Medicine degree and postgraduate clinical training at the University of Toronto, and subsequently earned a Master of Public Health degree at Harvard University. She is a full-time cardiologist, with a clinical focus in Heart Failure and Echocardiography in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. Dr. Van Spall is a CIHR-funded scientist who leads clinical trials in Heart Failure at the Population Health Research Institute. She has garnered more than $4 million in research funding, has won several research awards, and has published her work in high-impact medical journals, including JAMA, Lancet, Circulation, and Annals of Internal Medicine. She serves on the CIHR College of Reviewers and is an associate editor and / or peer reviewer at several high-impact journals. 

Mathew Mercuri completed a PhD in Health Research Methods at McMaster University, and a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. He has also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University. Mathew is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine (McMaster University), and at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (University of Toronto), in addition to associate roles with  Victoria College and the University of Johannesburg. In 2019, he was named Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. Mathew’s research interests are focused on medical epistemology, variations in medical practice, and issues around radiation exposure from diagnostic imaging.

Originally from New Jersey, Seth Trueger (@MDaware) attended medical school at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He completed residency at Mount Sinai in New York City followed by the Health Policy Fellowship in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington, which included working in the office of Congressman John Dingell during the ObamaCare rollout. He then joined the faculty at the University of Chicago before moving to Northwestern University. He was previously Social Media Editor at Annals of Emergency Medicine, and has been Digital Media Editor at JAMA Network Open since 2018. He has published on a number of topics including emergency department crowding and emergency airway management; the focus of his research is on social media use for medical education and dissemination of medical journal content. He can be found on Twitter as @MDaware and he lives in Chicago with his wife, daughter and puppy. 


Dr. Teresa Chan (@TChanMD) is an associate professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine at McMaster University.  She is the assistant dean for McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Program for Faculty Development (@MacPFD).  She is an avid scholar in health professions education and works with the MERIT group (@MERIT_McMaster), and conducts research and scholarship within this area.