There is an old writer’s rule: have the courage to write badly. This principle is important for avoiding procrastination and getting into the most effective method for improving writing skills. That method is more practice writing. Of course, feedback enhances that method. Below we provide two sets of tips. One set to help improve your scientific writing and, on the other side, suggestions on how to be a good peer-reviewer. The peer-reviewing tips may also be useful for a new researcher for an insight into what they might expect from a manuscript review. We are regularly updating these documents, so we welcome your suggestions and critiques. Our goal is to enhance resources for better scientific communication and fostering a beneficial peer-review system.
Here is a compilation of tips that can help improve the quality of one’s writing. The tips are useful in both the writing of a first draft and as a checklist during proofreading. A professor once told me that “writing is necessary to clarify thinking.” I believe this statement is absolutely true. So do not let these tips slow your progress on a first draft. Instead, use them to refine your writing.
The need for confidentiality in most journal review processes can make peer-reviewing appear mysterious. Indeed, there can be a lot variability to how scientists approach providing a peer-review. We don’t claim to know the “correct” way to provide a review, but we attempt here to compile a common set of values that can help improve the utility of reviews. We hope this will be useful to new reviewers. These tips may be even more useful for new authors in helping them know what to expect and what to prepare for prior to submitting their abstracts.
Elsevier also provides a nice set of instructions for reviewers, which can be found here: