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Res Integr Peer Rev. 2017 Jun 5;2:6. doi: 10.1186/s41073-017-0032-0. eCollection 2017.

Mentored peer review of standardized manuscripts as a teaching tool for residents: a pilot randomized controlled multi-center study.

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1Department of Neurology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR USA.
11The Queens Medical Center Neuroscience Institute, 1301 Punchbowl St., QET5, Honolulu, HI 96813 USA.
2Department of Neurology, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157 USA.
3Department of Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 630 W 168th St, New York, NY 10032 USA.
4Department of Neurology, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461 USA.
5Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, 1 Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030 USA.
6Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, 500 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA.
7Department of Neurology, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195 USA.
8Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115 USA.
9Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 USA.
10Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W 168th St, New York, NY 10032 USA.



There is increasing need for peer reviewers as the scientific literature grows. Formal education in biostatistics and research methodology during residency training is lacking. In this pilot study, we addressed these issues by evaluating a novel method of teaching residents about biostatistics and research methodology using peer review of standardized manuscripts. We hypothesized that mentored peer review would improve resident knowledge and perception of these concepts more than non-mentored peer review, while improving review quality.


A partially blinded, randomized, controlled multi-center study was performed. Seventy-eight neurology residents from nine US neurology programs were randomized to receive mentoring from a local faculty member or not. Within a year, residents reviewed a baseline manuscript and four subsequent manuscripts, all with introduced errors designed to teach fundamental review concepts. In the mentored group, mentors discussed completed reviews with residents. Primary outcome measure was change in knowledge score between pre- and post-tests, measuring epidemiology and biostatistics knowledge. Secondary outcome measures included level of confidence in the use and interpretation of statistical concepts before and after intervention, and RQI score for baseline and final manuscripts.


Sixty-four residents (82%) completed initial review with gradual decline in completion on subsequent reviews. Change in primary outcome, the difference between pre- and post-test knowledge scores, did not differ between mentored (-8.5%) and non-mentored (-13.9%) residents (p = 0.48). Significant differences in secondary outcomes (using 5-point Likert scale, 5 = strongly agree) included mentored residents reporting enhanced understanding of research methodology (3.69 vs 2.61; p = 0.001), understanding of manuscripts (3.73 vs 2.87; p = 0.006), and application of study results to clinical practice (3.65 vs 2.78; p = 0.005) compared to non-mentored residents. There was no difference between groups in level of interest in peer review (3.00 vs 3.09; p = 0.72) or the quality of manuscript review assessed by the Review Quality Instrument (RQI) (3.25 vs 3.06; p = 0.50).


We used mentored peer review of standardized manuscripts to teach biostatistics and research methodology and introduce the peer review process to residents. Though knowledge level did not change, mentored residents had enhanced perception in their abilities to understand research methodology and manuscripts and apply study results to clinical practice.


Education; Medical residency; Peer review; Training

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