Peer Review Week Open Forum



Peer Review Q&A with JNeurosci and eNeuro Editors-in-Chief

Please note: This Q&A is open to the public. Login is required to post a reply. If you are a current or previous SfN member, use the email address and password you used to join SfN. non-SfN members should create a new account.

Do you have a question about the peer review process? Want to know about becoming a reviewer? Do you wonder what an editor does for a scientific journal? Neuronline is hosting a Q&A with the Editors-in-Chief Marina Piccioto (JNeurosci) and Christophe Bernard (eNeuro) for Peer Review Week. Post your questions in the replies below!

Forum will open to the public for questions on September 4th. The EiCs will answer questions beginning September 11th.


Marina Picciotto, Journal of Neuroscience
Marina Picciotto is the Charles B.G. Murphy Professor and Deputy Chair in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University, as well as Professor of Pharmacology and Neurobiology at Yale University School of Medicine. She received her PhD in Molecular Neurobiology from The Rockefeller University and pursued her postdoctoral fellowship at the Institut Pasteur. Picciotto has made significant advances to our understanding of the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in addiction, depression, feeding, and learning/memory.

Christophe Bernard, eNeuro
Christophe Bernard is the director of research at INSERM U1106 in the Institute of Systems Neuroscience. Bernard received his PhD from the University of Paris VI and conducted postdoctoral research at Southampton University. Bernard is interested in mechanisms underlying the construction of an epileptic brain, including seizure genesis and propagation with a focus on temporal lobe epilepsy. His lab is designing and using new tools to help with epileptic research.

Login is required to post a reply. If you are a current or previous SfN member, use the email address and password you used to join SfN. non-SfN members should create a new account.


What are the differences between the levels of editors (associate, reviewing, senior) and how are they selected/recruited?


Do we need a rubric to do the review?


Having an article refused for acceptance can be difficult especially if you are not in agreement with reviewers’ comments.
Can an investigator defend their science and request additional reviews?


I am interested in being considered as a reviewer.


Are you working on a process to make the authors anonymous during review?


What is the best way for graduate students to get involved in the peer review process?


Does any restriction for a foreign latin-american investigator, to get into editor’s world? Does exist any restriction with trump’s government?


Welcome to the Peer Review Week Q&A and thank you for your questions! Marina and Christophe will be answering questions throughout the week. Keep posting your questions and check back during the week for new conversations!


At JN, like at eN, Reviewing Editors are active scientists who invite reviewers and make the first recommendation on the manuscript. Senior Editors cover various subsections of neuroscience and receive the recommendations from Reviewing Editors in their area. The Senior Editor makes the final decision on a manuscript, and makes sure that there is a common set of expectations across the manuscripts in a particular area. Associate Editors are frequent, high quality, rapid reviewers who are willing to review manuscripts on short notice and are often called in to make decisions when there is a discrepancy between reviewers.


Submitted question:

A common complaint among scientists are unreasonable demands by reviewers which may be a very subjective matter (what’s a simple experiment to me may be a gargantuan effort for you and vice versa). How can a reviewer evaluate whether their suggestions are going to be deemed objectively demanding or just unreasonably demanding and how important is that in the reviewing process?


At eNeuro, we only have reviewing editors, active scientists who handle the manuscripts.


All you need to do is send a CV, a motivation letter, and identify the reviewing editors with whom you could work. I’ll forward the information to the relevant reviewing editors who may call upon you. I recommend watching the webinars on “how to review a paper”, freely available to all SfN members. Tricks of the Trade: How to Peer Review a Manuscript


There is no rubric for the review itself, but when it is time to submit the review. there are fields in the review form that must be filled in. For more information, you can see the new video on the JNeurosci review process that shows all the fields in the review form.


It is definitely difficult to get a negative decision on work that you have done carefully and invested so much in. Remember that each journal has a different set of metrics, so if you get a negative decision, it doesn’t mean that it is not appropriate for another journal. However, at JNeurosci, the only basis for appeal is scientific error on the part of a reviewer. If the reviews do not contain scientific error, the best way to move forward is to take into account the points raised by the reviewers and revise your manuscript for submission to another journal.


At eNeuro, the final decision is based on a consensus reached between the reviewers and the reviewing editor, and authors receive only one document (one voice), a synthesis. Although it is still possible that the 3 of them badly evaluated the manuscript, it is unlikely. We have received only a handful of appeals thanks to this consensus review process. You can make an appeal IF you consider that a critical mistake has been made or if you consider that there is a bias in the synthesis.


JNeurosci and eNeuro have a somewhat different review process. eN has double blind review and it works very well during the review process. JN does not currently keep the identify of the authors anonymous.


Most of the reviewers for JN are relatively well established scientists, but we are working on a reviewer training program with our Associate Editors to get more junior scientists experience with the review process and ultimately, incorporating younger PIs and senior postdocs as reviewers after the program.


Submitted question:

How can you avoid being ‘the bad reviewer’ but still be critical?


As for JN, there are fields to fill in. The questions are straightforward. Once both reviews are uploaded, the consultation process starts. You can talk about the reviews with the other reviewer and the reviewing editor. The reviewing editor then writes a synthesis once a consensus has been reached regarding the final decision, and what the authors need to do.