SAGE Advice: Tips From Top Peer Reviewers

SAGE has just announced an extended partnership with Publons, adding a massive 1,000 journals to the network for automated peer review recognition. To help us celebrate, materials engineer Ning Pan, and a handful of other top reviewers for SAGE, shared their background in research and review, and offered some tips for reviewers new to the scene...


Materials engineer Ning Pan and art of peer review

               Professor Ning Pan

             Professor Ning Pan

Professor Ning Pan excels in the physics and engineering of fibrous materials. He shares his knowledge with researchers worldwide in his published manuscripts - and via peer review.

Working at the University of California, Davis in the United States, Ning is one of the top reviewers for Sage's Textile Research Journal on Publons. We asked Ning how he felt about peer review and what challenges he's faced along the way. Take a look.

Publons: Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your research?

Ning: I joined University of California Davis in 1990 as an assistant professor of Fiber and Polymer Science, and became a full professor in 1999. My research areas mainly include physics and modeling of soft fibrous materials; biodynamic equilibrium of thermo-humidity in human-cloth microclimate; biomechanics of interactions between body and cloth during intensive movement; and more recently nanomaterials based supercapacitors.

You're one of the top reviewers contributing to SAGE's Textile Research Journal on Publons - how do you feel about that?

I feel great that I have been able to contribute to the area.

What do you consider the most important aspect of peer review?

First of all, it would be impossible for any field to prosper without the peer review process. I consider peer review as the duty for every one who published and hence already benefited from peer review services of the colleagues. Also I don’t see peer reviewing as a one-way assistance for I have learned a great deal from reviewing manuscripts.

I don’t see peer reviewing as a one-way assistance, for I have learned a great deal from reviewing manuscripts.

What challenges have you had to overcome in peer review?

Mainly the time restriction, as increasingly professors have been asking to do more. Therefore receiving recognition from peer review activities means a lot for us.

Do you think research would be better or worse off if a more diverse range of people were asked to review papers? Why?

When searching for reviewers, we should look for the ones most appropriate for the assignment, and they often may not be in the “right skill or disciplinary range”, especially giving the unprecedented trans-permeation among the different fields now. Appropriate reviewers are good for a field regardless of their discipline titles.

Main photo courtesy of  Andy Magee (CC BY-NC 2.0).