Capacity Building in Peer Review: a Student-led Journal Experience
Introduction: Peer review plays a pivotal role in optimizing articles' quality. However, in a context of poor methodological publications and unreliable data, it is questionable which strategies to invest in to improve peer reviewing. An excellent start is by enhancing diversity through inclusion of undergraduate students to reviewers. We aim to report the peer reviewing policies, procedures, and practices of a medical student-led journal editorial board in 2020, detailing the challenges and
... role of students in building capacity in peer review. Methods: Through validated online training courses and peer education methodology, the students built capacity regarding the relevance of peer review, its models, structure, and publication process. The journal peer-reviewing was blinded for authors and reviewers, pursuing impartiality and minimization of identification bias. To add standardization to the submission and review processes, guidelines for authors and reviewers were developed, based on journals' recommendations, and reporting guidelines. Results: The journal had 254 submitted manuscripts from all five Brazilian geographic regions during the second semester of 2020, a considerable increase compared to the 72 submissions in the previous edition. After reviewing, 50 articles were accepted to the Brazilian Medical Students' 7th edition, demanding minor or major corrections.Discussion: Peer review contributes to the construction of content, standing for evidence-based medicine. Besides, it improves ethical, communication, and critical appraisal abilities, also desirable in the academic and professional spheres. Among the benefits and limitations of this medical students' peer review process, there is an interesting strategy to be studied and further promoted.