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To review or not to review, that is the question
  1. P McCrory
  1. Centre for Sports Medicine Research and Education and the Brain research Institute, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr McCrory, PO Box 93, Shoreham, Victoria 3916, Australia;

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From the perspective of both the editor and author, a perfect review is rapid, impartial, and constructive

Being asked to review a paper is one of the most difficult tasks to face a clinician. None of us have formal training or guidance in this area, and when a paper lands on our desks with a kindly note from the editor our first response is often one of horror, something akin to a visitation of the Black Death. Questions that usually spring to mind are why me? And why didn't they cover this in my medical or science course? Once the shock wears off, the opportunity to review manuscripts can actually be a positive process both for the authors and the reviewer. For an experienced scientist, being asked to review a manuscript should be an exciting proposition. To be selected for this role through scientific respect in a particular field is an intoxicating mix. Although it may be a time burden, it is also a rite of passage in academia. What then is the process of review and how can we improve our skills in this area?


When a manuscript is submitted to the Journal, an editorial management decision is first made as to whether it is an appropriate paper for this journal. For example, a paper on sports astrology would be considered inappropriate whereas a randomised control trial on the treatment of groin pain would be eminently suitable. It is worth authors noting that, as the years pass and the Journal receives increasing numbers of high quality papers, then papers that may have been published in years gone by are now more likely to be rejected. Attempting to pass off a personal case series as an original research paper is a common example of this.

The number of papers published …

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