HomeProfessionalsCareer DevelopmentFellowsInnovations in Fellowship Education2017 ▶ The “Ghost Review” Project: Self-regulated Professional Development Activity to Improve Peer Review Skills amongst Early Career Researchers
The “Ghost Review” Project: Self-regulated Professional Development Activity to Improve Peer Review Skills amongst Early Career Researchers

University of Toronto

Toronto, Ontario

Abstract Authors: Jatinder K Juss, MD, PhD, MRCP, FRCP; Pierre-Alexis Lépine, MD; Jacob Ninan, MD; Alexander Mackay, MD and Alberto Goffi, MD

Program Director: Laurent Brochard, MD

Type of Program: Critical Care



The ability to objectively and thoroughly critique primary scientific literature is vital to the peer review process and a fundamental professional skill for all early career researchers to develop. Peer review is a cardinal function of the scientific community to ensure that significant limitations about study design, observations and conclusions are addressed prior to publication. Despite its critical importance, many junior investigators receive little, or no, explicit training in the appraisal of manuscripts.


Literature on developing peer review and scientific literacy skills of early career researchers is limited. The objective of the current study is to determine (1) the perception, attitudes and experience of American Thoracic Society early career researchers of their scientific literacy skills and ability to review scientific manuscripts and (2) if undertaking a self-regulated professional “ghost” review activity is an effective means of enhancing early career researchers’ review performance.


ATS early career researchers (n=50) enrolled in the study will be asked to evaluate and provide effective feedback for the original submission of five consecutive scientific research articles published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM) within the previous three years. On completion of each article review, participants will immediately be supplied the original comments from AJRCCM peer reviewers for self-assessment of their review performance. Primary outcome of the study will be an assessment of improvement in quality of the early career researchers’ reviews, as measured by a review assessment tool developed according to existing literature on quality of review process. The first and last article reviews will be independently scored by two investigators to determine changes in review performance during the self-regulated activity. Participants will also be asked to self-assess their skills and knowledge related to scientific literacy through surveys administered before and after the enrollment in the self-regulated Ghost Review professional development activity. We will use a pre-/post-activity comparative design to examine changes in participants’ perceptions over time through a self-rating survey. Seven to ten survey items related to the peer review process were constructed based on previous experience using the primary literature as a teaching tool to assess the impact of the self-assessment ghost review activity. Participants will rate themselves using a Likert-type 5-point rating scale (where 1= Not at all confident and 5= Extremely confident), scores on the survey items will be summed to form a composite self-rating score. Results: This study has just started and will be fully complete and analyzed by February 2017 in anticipation of the ATS Meeting.