A Crucial Role of Reviewers

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Scientific articles require a format and a protocol that include an Introduction, Methods and Materials, Results, Discussion, and Conclusions. There follows a list of References (not limited in number) that are keyed within the body of the text, mainly in the Introduction and the Discussion sections. References are meant to substantiate the statements made by the author. They acknowledge the work of the authors because it pertains to the subject at hand.
Can References be misleading, misappropriated, or misused? Can they be cited without even having been read by the author? Can they be listed to “pad” the aggrandizement of the article itself or even of the self-citations of an author's previously published articles?
Enter Angela Cochran who is the Associate Publisher and Journals' Director at the American Society of Civil Engineers (She is the Past President of the Council of Science Editors). In a well thought-out, erudite article1 titled “Turning a Critical Eye on Reference Lists,” she states, at the outset, “Manuscripts are complicated.” They start with a summary, continue with a justification for the work, and a comprehensive review of other work related to the topic.” As for “other work,” there is a bridge to Reference lists. There are 2 questions worth sharing: Are the References complete with citations to reputable works in the field and devoid of unnecessary puffery? Of equal importance is the question, how closely are the reviewers casting a critical eye on the Reference list?
These questions are as applicable to the field of implant dentistry/oral implantology as they are to any other scientific discipline. The suggested addition or deletion of References in Implant Dentistry by a reviewer is justified to maintain the wholesomeness and the integrity of the literature itself.
An example of the scope and depth of our reviewers' checking submitted References is exemplified by 1 reviewer's evaluation of a submitted manuscript. “Until closely reviewing the Fadda and Cote References, I was considering recommendation of significant revisions. However, there is what appears to be a serious error in judgment in how the Cote statements and incidence of ostium stenosis were attributed. I do not see how anyone who is doing osteomeatal research, spending so much time on the topic, could make the mistake and then write the sentence that Cote et al stated that the incidence of ostium stenosis was 68%. This is simply not what was stated in their article; there is no objective documentation on how a patent or “obliterated” ostium was determined. This appears to be a near fatal method flaw in the overall project. This should have been one of the hallmarks of a project such as this.”
Thus, dear journal readers, you can see a reason for recognition of the exemplary collective nature of our Senior Editorial Reviewers as being “A Centerpiece”.
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