Peer review of research articles is an essential component of the publication process but it places a considerable burden on the senior scientists called upon to perform the task. The training and development of junior researchers in the practice of peer review is needed to lighten the load. Recently, BMC Medicine has tackled this issue with the publication of a collection of articles, written by experts, aimed at providing tips and advice for junior reviewers as well as being a reference source for all reviewers
The four open access articles cover a range of issues and a series of tutorials have been written to provide guidance on how to achieve constructive peer reviews based on specific study designs. Alam and Patel introduce the tutorials and highlight the need for training of individuals in peer reviewing. David Moher gives direction on the strategy that should be adopted for the peer review of a systematic review and meta-analysis while Greenwood and Freeman tackle the problem of reviewing statistical analyses when one is not a statistician. Finally Del Mar and Hoffmann suggest ways to identify flaws in randomised controlled trials to ensure that the quality of the research published is of a high standard.
Obviously all of the four articles have been peer reviewed!