“Publish or perish” is a phrase frequently used to describe the pressure within academia to sustain one’s career. But those of us who are now embarking in this process as young researchers know it too well: feedback can be painful. So why not to peer-test your manuscript in a safe and interdisciplinary environment before submission? A peer review group does just that. Born as an initiative of our community, its aim is to improve the quality of the participants’ manuscripts to accelerate the publication process in the field of energy. The participants are organized in small groups of about 4-5 people. The scope is not only to receive feedback from different angles but also, to expose manuscripts to critical analysis at early stages. Besides, while giving feedback, participants improve their reviewing skills.
We asked Ceciel Nieuwenhout, a PhD candidate in Energy Law, to share her reasons to join a peer review group. “I was interested in getting to know people from other faculties, especially people with a technical background, to test whether my ideas also work from a technical perspective.” In her research, Ceciel focusses on the legal aspects of offshore renewable energy connections in the North Sea. She is just over half way with her PhD, beginning her third year.
The peer review groups are self-organized. A group lasts for a period of one year so that each member can chose the time to submit a manuscript. “I like the flexible approach. A paper has a specific time to be reviewed: it should not be reviewed too early since you need at least the main body, but also not too late when it is not possible to change because it has already been submitted”. The peer review initiative has been running since last March, and according to Ceciel “It is hard to keep the group together, especially after the summer holidays. Nevertheless, the meeting we had turned out to be a very useful and interesting experience, also for networking: I met a person of which I reviewed the work at a conference shortly after our meeting.”
Leonie is looking for a group! Are you interested to join?