Peer Commentary Guidelines

Last updated
August 25, 2021

As part of our mission to expose the processes of science to the public, we created our own version of some of the best parts of the peer-review system. Our intention is to show the public that scientists have different opinions and communicating those opinions is part of the scientific process. 

We ask that you give few lines of commentary (200 words max) on another consortium member’s article. The commentary will be published alongside the original article, and attributed to you (transparency!). The idea is that readers will get a sense that different scientists will have different ways of viewing the same piece of research, and that this variety is a part of how the process of science works. 

Your Task

Write up to 200 words of commentary on another member’s article, written in your general field of expertise. It should take you no longer than 30 minutes (please time yourself).

The articles that we are asking you to provide commentary on have been written and edited by your fellow consortium scientists and are in a finalized form: we aren’t asking you to write about their tone, style, or narrative or to make suggestions about how to make the story ‘better’. 

Rather, we are asking for your expert opinion on the translation/interpretation of the original article and the science in the original study. Perhaps you have a different way of looking at the same data from the original paper. Perhaps you have a different background and want to bring up an different study that wasn’t mentioned. Here are two questions we want you to consider when writing your commentary. 

  1. How robust was the initial study? If the Massive writer flagged issues with the methods, analysis or discussion, great! If they didn’t or missed something, now is your opportunity to bring up any reservations you might have and open questions that remain.
  2. Is there more context that you could provide for readers that might help them understand the study? Remember, the Massive writer has planted a seed for the lay public to understand something complex: can you help add your expert opinion to the conversation? Can you point public readers towards other interesting research or articles that will help them understand the science better?