Transcript - Mysteries of the Library: Revealed! Peer Review - Jan 21 2019

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>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  Welcome, everyone. We do want to test audio, if you can just give us a yes or no, we can hear you, make sure, we want to make sure you can hear us really clearly before we get started, but you are in the Walden, Mysteries of the Library: Revealed! Peer Review webinar. Just let us know in your chat pane whether or not you can hear us okay.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Okay, getting some confirmations that people are hearing us, so thank you for that. We'll be getting underway in just a moment.


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  Okay. Welcome everyone to tonight's webinar. You are attending the Walden, Mysteries of the Library: Revealed! Peer Review webinar. And we're going to go ahead and show our WebCams. We have two presenters tonight. My name is Traci Avet Hector, I’m the Reference Librarian at Walden University. And also here tonight is Dr. Taylor Leigh, he is a Liaison Librarian to the School of Public Policy and Administration. And he deals with several different fields that some of you may be involved in, programs with criminal justice, a lot of programs out there at Walden.


So we wanted to go ahead and let you know that we're real people and just to say hello. We're going to be recording this session. Taylor's going to record this starting now. And we're going to close our WebCams just to save a little bit of bandwidth. But we did want to say hi. So we'll go ahead and stop that part and go into the webinar.


Okay. Like we said, today's webinar is Walden, Mysteries of the Library: Revealed! Peer Review.  And, we wanted to do a little bit of housekeeping before we get started, especially for those of you who may be attending a library webinar for the first time. These things are going to be helpful to you as webinar attendees.  You can click on the orange arrows to expand what we call the GoToWebinar toolbox. And there you see some features that may be helpful. You can click on the arrow to access some of the behind the scenes features such as the handouts section. The handouts section will contain the PowerPoint for tonight's presentation, the slide deck for the webinar. Below that is the questions feature, that sort of acts like a chatbox. So you can ask content related questions in a box anytime during the webinar -- although we do ask that you use our Ask a Librarian service if you have other library related questions that aren't necessarily about peer-reviewed, or something that we go into it tonight's presentation, please do ask using that service, because we do want to make sure that someone helps to answer your questions. Otherwise, if you have any questions about what we're talking about, anything about peer-reviewed, make sure you go ahead and type that into the questions box as you think of them -- not like me, when you're on your way home.


Another thing is the closed captioning link, for those who want to view closed captioning, we have it available now in the link you see on your screen, we also put that in to the questions chatbox. And, the final thing is that the recording link for this webinar will be emailed to all of you to anyone registered for the webinar usually within a few hours after the webinar ends, but certainly within one to two days following the webinar.


So, while today's webinar is all about peer review, you may not realize that the Mysteries of the Library: Revealed! is actually an ongoing webinar series. It’s on the third Monday of every month, always at 8:30 PM Eastern time, library staff present a webinar on a specific topic. So while today's focus will be on peer review, you can check out next month's Mysteries webinar. Let's see, this one is going to be all about Boolean operators. In March, you can get some organization and storage tips. So be sure to sign up for these. That will be for organizing articles and other research and library related resources. Taylor and I have a great closet organization webinar that for some reason, we just can't get it approved. So those will be great to be sure to look out for those.


So what you see on the screen now are our objectives for this webinar, the three things we really want you to leave the session with. And our goals are that, at the session’s end, you will be able to one, understand the peer review process -- it is a process. Second, we want you to be able to locate peer-reviewed articles. And that's going to be really important in your scholarship as a student and after, once you graduate. And of course, you want to verify that articles are peer-reviewed. And we want to make sure that you know exactly how to accomplish that.


So what we want to start with is basically, what is peer-reviewed? What does that phrase even mean? You've probably heard about this in your assignments and tasks, discussions between your instructor and classmates at some point or another. Well, peer-reviewed is really the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work to the scrutiny of other scholars. So we're basically taking someone's scholarly work and having other scholars who are subject matter experts and are really knowledgeable in either that specific topic or maybe just the general field that manuscript fits into.


So, while peer review is the actual process, what we call a peer-reviewed journal is a journal that uses the process. Keep in mind that we're going to talk about peer-reviewed journals, peer-reviewed articles. An article that is called a peer-reviewed article, it's really an article that was published in a peer-reviewed journal. So while each article is reviewed by the reviewers for that publication for the journal, it's really the journal that has the designation of peer-reviewed. And so, the standard articles that are published in the journal will be considered peer-reviewed.


Next, peer-reviewed journals send submitted articles to reviewers, they are sometimes called referees, who read and inspect the manuscripts that have been submitted to that journal.  Let's take a closer look at how that process occurs.


First, the authors of a scholarly article submit their publication to a journal, to a publication.  Next, the referees for that journal review the article. So they’re reading it, they're looking for questionable things or errors or maybe just something that they need clarified. They are reading from the position of trying to ensure the scholarship is sound, but also maybe trying to predict what those scholars who will be reading the article later, you know, they might have questions about A, B or C. So they are looking at things that could be expanded upon. It’s not necessarily just looking at errors.


One thing to remember is the reviewers are rarely employees of the journal. In fact, academic reviewers don't receive any money from the journal, at all. They're just scholars, different backgrounds, and they happen to have subject expertise and they agree to closely read and review that journal’s many submissions, just to make sure that they're worthy of and suitable for publication.


Next, the journal can theoretically accept or reject the article right then and there. But what happens in many cases is that the reviewers will have questions for or comments to the other. So often times, the journal will send those questions and comments to the authors who then, usually, make revisions to their work based on that feedback.


Next, after the author makes any revisions, they will now submit that revised version to the journal. At this point, the article may be accepted or rejected for publication. Or maybe even get more of that process, it make it more comments that the journal asks them to address, or questions from reviewers. There are many variables. It's different between journals, is different between what might be standard in one field versus another field, different disciplines. But what you see here is more or less the basic process for most academic journals.


Now here are a few examples. I took the screenshots from a Google search. But they clearly show some examples of what you might see a reviewer write when they're submitting their comments or questions to a journal, or to the authors of a scholarly work through that journal. So that the top box, where it says Reviewer 1, the box in blue, shows you what a reviewer is saying about this particular journal. And you can see that they have some positive comments, some positive notes, some neutral notes, and also a couple of questions -- things that they want more information on or any clarification for and you can see that here.


Now, the middle part is highlighted with the yellow box around it, this is coming from the authors. So this is actually the response to that reviewer's pointing out, maybe, missing data tables or, and so on, that sort of thing. So when they respond to the journal, they not only will include revisions, but they also have a supplemental section that addresses those questions or comments directly, just so they can ensure that they know that those specific, that specific feedback was addressed.


And of course, at the bottom, I think this might be for a different journal, different example, that's just an example of what the authors might then submit to that journal when they're sending the revised material. So, once they've done that middle part and they've kind of addressed that feedback, the bottom part is what they might then submit to them.


Okay. So, why go through all this? What are the benefits of doing all of this? Because it is a pretty involved process, and that's one reason why it can take a while. Sometimes we'll have students who are looking for really, really current topics, things that have happened in the last couple months, and they will peer-reviewed. And that can be difficult because the length of the process. It's the amount of not necessarily the amount of time that you see with nonacademic journals -- especially those that the peer review process can take a while.


The reason to go through all this? Well, there are several. First of all, the process of peer review really helps to ensure that's what being published is the soundest, highest quality research possible, at least for the knowledge that, to the extent of knowledge in that field or on that topic at that point.


So the process only really allows you to ensure that the articles that you're citing in your work -- whether this is as a student or as an instructor, as a scholar practitioner -- it's providing you with the most solid, authoritative support that's available for your topic and/or discipline at that time. The most solid, possible support that's available to you.


So, while peer review does not mean that the results or conclusions are definitive, it's not saying that this is absolute. Because things can always come up as we learn more information about a topic or within a field, it can alter how some things maybe have been interpreted in the past were affected or something can come up and you realize that was skewing past conclusions. So it doesn't mean a peer-reviewed article, peer-reviewed publications are going to have absolutely 100% correct results or conclusions, it supports healthy growth of knowledge in a given area. So we're human, we can learn everything at one time, but a healthier foundation really allows us to continue to build on and kind of shape the accuracy and the extent of that knowledge.


One really important thing I wanted to cover about peer review, and the reason we are going over this is because we really want you to understand what peer review means. When you're asked to find three peer-reviewed articles on Condition X or Population X there's usually more than one variable, it helps to understand why are they peer-reviewed. It doesn't just mean that some people in the field think they're pretty good. It means they have gone through that standardized process. So that's why we're going through this as another thing that may help you to kind of understand that behind-the-scenes process that's so important to sound research and scholarship would be the three types of peer review. And there are three types -- single blind, double-blind and open.


We want to go over these a little bit. In a single blind peer-reviewed, the reviewers know who the author is, but the author has no idea who the reviewers are. So the reviewers remain anonymous. What’s the possible benefit of this? Well, it can help to reduce some conflicts of interest. For example, there are some very narrow, very specific research topics out there, and its really newer research topics might be cited by a really small group of researchers. Some of those researchers may find themselves working together over and over, because their research focus is so specific. And so, many of them have collaborated on a similar paper or maybe they're rivals on a particular perspective of a result or meaning of a result or applying a conclusion to data and so forth.


So, since reviewers are scholars of the topic they're reading about, it can happen. So in single blind, the reviewer is able to say hey, that's my co-author or that's my brother-in-law. Maybe I should tell the journal so they can sign this to another reviewer. It just reduces some conflicts of interest because the reviewers, although they're anonymous, they know who the author is or the authors are.


The next one is double-blind peer-reviewed. Double-blind peer-reviewed, on the other hand, the reviewers do not know who the author is and the author doesn't know who the reviewers are. The benefits of having the identity of all parties be completely anonymous is that this can help to minimize some types of bias that might arise. So for example, say your research focus currently has a lot of debate between scholars or maybe there's some funding controversies happening, then double-blind reviewers, not knowing the identity of the author or their institutions can keep them from accidentally letting those biases affect their review of the work.


Finally, the third type of peer review is open peer review. Unlike double-blind where no one knows anyone's identity, in open peer review, nothing is concealed. The reviewers know who the author is, the authors know who the reviewers are. So, while this type might not prevent some types of bias, it does create a platform that sort of equalizes it somewhat. So, with those journals that use this open type of peer review, sometimes both the review commentaries and the author's responses to those commentaries will be published right alongside the article. So it does try to equalize it. And you can imagine the advantages and disadvantages compared to the others that you might have in this one where everyone is known.


So those are the three types of peer review for the process of peer review that different journals will opt to take.


And with that, I'm going to pass this over to my colleague, Dr. Taylor Leigh.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Okay. Thank you so much, Traci, for the overview. That was a wonderful explanation of peer review, how happen, why it matters. And now we're going to transition and get into the nitty-gritty of how do we find peer-reviewed literature?


Let me go ahead and move this control panel out of my way here. So, on this slide are a couple of icons or just images of things you might see in our databases and in our A to  Z database list. So when you're in individual databases, you'll see boxes that say peer-reviewed or peer-reviewed scholarly journals. These will appear on the initial search page.


Oh, okay. Sorry. TI think it was indicating that you could see my screen. Hopefully you can now.


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  Yes, we can now.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Okay, thanks. These two first boxes you will see on the initial search page and databases, and we will see an example of that in a minute. And it's as simple as clicking no to ensure that you're seeing peer-reviewed results. If you don't check that, you might see some materials that are not peer-reviewed.


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  We are seeing your peer-reviewed planning doc.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Peer-reviewed planning doc? Aha. Okay. I have two screens, I think it is picking up the wrong one. Let me see here. Sorry about this. I duplicated my screen. Let me see if I can figure this out, sorry.


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  If you want, I can show the PowerPoint from my screen, then we can go to you whenever you're ready to go into Chrome.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  That might be helpful. Let's do that instead of the check to figure this out on the fly.


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  Okay. Let's go to ... all right.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Perfect, thank you. Let me exit out of this.


Okay, so, you want to check those boxes when you see them in our databases. You can wait to do that until you run a search and do it on that page of results. Or in most cases, I would recommend going ahead and checking that before you search.


Then, in our list of databases that you can access from the library's homepage by clicking on that Databases A-Z button, when you scroll through and look at all the databases we have you will see some of these icons next to them, some of them with the green circle with the hat and others with the orange circle. So when you see those green circles, that means that all of the content in that database is peer-reviewed. So in those cases, you don't need to worry about checking that box. There won’t be a box, because everything is peer-reviewed. So those are great databases. Sage Journals is an example of that. Emerald Insight is a business database like that.


Then, with regard to the orange circle, that means some of the content. That's the majority of the databases that we subscribe to. They have a lot of peer-reviewed content, not everything is peer-reviewed. So you will see that orange icon in those cases. Then, if you don't see an icon, those are databases that either don't contain peer-reviewed materials at all or we can't verify the extent of how much of what is in that particular database is peer-reviewed.


So, okay, Traci, I think I am going to transition now to Thoreau and run a search. Let's see. I think it's going to try to do the same thing. Okay. Tell me if this works. Do you see the library's homepage?


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  Yes. Perfect.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Okay. I think I’ve got it figured out, now.


So I want to show you what this looks like. This is the library's homepage, I have zoomed in as much as I can to make it as big on your screen as possible. You can search in Thoreau, which is a multi-database search tool, by just typing any search term into this main search bar. But I'm going to click right under this to go to the advanced search. This is a good thing to know about. I recommend coming in to the advanced search whenever you can, because it allows you to be much more precise in how you search. But I'm going to run a quick search for pets on the one hand and then I'll do laws or policy or legislation, you can tell I have run this search before. Laws or policy or legislation or regulation or guidelines.


Now, so we have our search terms in there. We want to come down, there is that peer-reviewed box. We want to check that. You can uncheck the full text box if you want to. You can also limit to a date range over here if you want to. But we're just interested in peer review right now. I'm actually going to uncheck that so I can show you how many results we get first. So if you don't check the peer-reviewed box, we're seeing close to 28,000 results. Then, we'll limit to peer review, and that brings us to around 13,000. And then, if we modify our date range, bring it up to show literature within the last five years, that's going to bring us all the way down to around  5800. So you can see, just by that quick demo, how much you can limit searches, especially in really big, multi-searching databases like Thoreau.


Now, let me show you how to verify peer review. So again, if you have limited resources to peer-reviewed materials in our databases or you're searching in databases that have only peer-reviewed content, you won’t need to worry about verifying the peer-reviewed. However, I know a lot of students to search in Google Scholar. Google Scholar is great. It definitely has its advantages. But it also has its drawbacks, and one of those is that there is no ability to limit to peer-reviewed materials in Google Scholar.


So, I'm going to do a search here for pet regulations and just take a look at some of these results we're getting. Again, we can't limit to peer-reviewed, we're going to see lots of different kinds of content would be run a search in Google Scholar. We can't be sure what is peer-reviewed and what isn't.


There was one article I saw, it might have changed already…let me use this as an example. So, we have this article called “Disturbance to mentoring Western Snowy Plovers.” This is about birds, it looks like it's coming from a journal called Biological Conversation.


If you ever find something in Google Scholar, you're not sure it's peer-reviewed, look under the title of the article, you will see the title of the journal. Go ahead and copy that and we're going to go to a website called Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. You can get there a lot of different ways. It is in our Databases A-Z list, so you can access it that way. You can also access it, I believe, it's here. Get Help. Here's Ulrich's, you see the link right here, I’m going to click on that, open it up in a new tab. We have a journal title saved already. This will take you to our verify peer-reviewed guide which is a really great resource guide to get to the website, itself.


So this is what Ulrich’s looks like. Now that we're here, I'm going to paste the journal title in there and search. And, this is an example of what you might see when you run the search. So we look in the title column, we see three separate entries for Biological Conservation. I will explain why we are seeing three in a minute. But the important thing is we look over here in this column with the referee jersey and we see that every one of those iterations of Biological Conservation is peer-reviewed. This is a referee jersey, this is the symbol that Ulrich's uses to indicate peer-reviewed. So be careful, because there's also a separate column that says Reviewed. So that can be a bit confusing. You're looking for the referee jersey.


The why are there three different iterations? Because these represent the print form, the microform form and the online form of this journal. And that's quite common to see three different versions.


Okay, Traci, I'm going back to the PowerPoint. And here we go. On the More Information slide, I just included on this slide a few more resources if you have additional questions about peer review, you can get to that peer-reviewed guide we were just in that covers everything we just talked about. We also have a few Quick Answers on peer review, how do you find peer-reviewed articles, that's a really concise answer to what we've talked about today. And then, how do I verify that my article is peer-reviewed, so that will walk you through that same process.


Then of course, if you have any questions about anything we've gone over today, anything related to peer review or anything related to the library, you can contact us through the Ask a Librarian feature on our website.


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  Okay. We did have a question. Are peer-reviewed articles published only in journals? And we just wanted to share with everyone that it’s only journals. Not books. Peer-reviewed articles are not found in books and other types of sources.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  That's right. We reserve that term "peer-reviewed" specifically for journals. So either a journal will be peer-reviewed or it won't be.


So, Traci, did you want to advance to the last slide before we take questions? Here's some more resources, here's a link to our Quick Answers, which are really great instructional content available any time. Our last Ask a Librarian feature right here, and here is a link to our webinar archive, which has a bunch of different webinars like this on a variety of topics. Some are subject specific, some are general library skills. Please check those out if you haven't already. And, I think that covers what we wanted to discuss before we open it up to questions. Did you have anything else, Traci?


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  No. I have stopped the recording and so that we can really delve into these questions. If you have questions, go ahead and let us know. But we do have a question that I wanted to read out loud. Someone asked if peer-reviewed articles are only published in journals, and I did say that it was only journals. And she's asking, is there any specific reason why? I would venture to say that it's because academic journals really have a more standardized process than you'll find in other publication types. You're not going to find the same type of process for book publishers or magazine publishers, newspaper publishers.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Yeah, that's exactly right. Without going too far down this rabbit hole, I can tell you that within the academic world, there is a lot of controversy, a lot of differing opinions about peer review, about its merits, about its disadvantages, so on and so forth. So, it is slightly contentious, but it is probably the most important tool in ensuring that the research that you access through databases is sound.


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  We have a question, “Can you explain the commands AND or OR?” That's a little bit off topic, but just to throw that out there, when Dr. Leigh was putting it in the search boxes, policies OR laws, OR regulations, that's because some authors we use the term laws, someone use the term regulations. Some authors are using different terms to reference the same concepts. Those commands, we called Boolean operators, can help with that. Is that about, sounds good to you?


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Yeah, it's fairly simple. It's just the words that you use in between different search terms when you're searching in databases. They tell the databases to search in different ways. And we do have a guide on that, and that can be accessed through the Quick Answers search, as well. If you're not familiar with Boolean operators, I definitely recommend checking out that guide. We have another one even more comprehensive that's called Database Search Skills that covers virtually everything about database searching, to optimize your searches in those databases. So that's a good one to look at, too.


>> TRACI AVET HECTOR:  I don't really see any other questions we haven't answered, so I think that's all for now. Be sure to look for the recording very soon, and thank you.


>> TAYLOR LEIGH:  Thanks, all of you, for joining us today on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Hope you have a great evening, and be in touch if we can be of help.


End Transcript


Created January 2019 by Walden University Library