In the field of academia, critiquing is a natural part of the process of growth. Early term students learn quickly to develop a thick skin, or they have a difficult time progressing through their higher education.
Peer reviews, in particular, are a regular aspect in research reviews, so much so that they remain integral to publications long after the graduate degree is obtained. These critiques are often the building blocks to help scholars improve their work in areas of weakness that they may never have seen before. But unfavorable criticism can also have a detrimental effect on the scholar, particularly if it cements itself as part of their reputation.
The chances of going through your entire scholarly career and never receiving an unfavorable criticism are slim to none. Therefore, you must learn how to progress in the field of academics through the lens of any unfavorable criticism you receive.
What is Peer Review?
The practice of peer review is a formal part of research in the scientific community and has been for over three centuries. It’s a respected, well-established foundation in which scholars justify their work by ensuring it passes inspection through a formalized process that promotes integrity, ethics, and accuracy.
According to the majority of the scientific community on research, peer review remains the highest form of evaluation of the quality of a scholar’s work, even with the advent of bibliometrics on a global scale today. Bibliometrics is able to collect quantitative data that helps to give a clearer picture of the impact of an author’s work, but peer review continues to judge qualitative measures as well. The process establishes a control as to how the published work is held to the higher standards of science.
The peer review process can look different, depending on the journal the work is being published in. Each system of peer review has its own pros and cons, but as of now, the choice of review falls to the publisher until a universal system for transparency is agreed upon.
The peer review models include:
● A single-blind review, in which the author does not know who is reviewing their work, but the reviewer knows the name of the author. This is the most popular method of reviewing since the anonymity of the process allows the reviewer to remain impartial and unbiased.
● A double-blind review, in which both the author and the reviewer are anonymous. Because of this double anonymity, the reviewer’s potential for bias is limited. This works well particularly when the author is already known for other publications.
● A triple-blind review, in which there the reviewer, editor, and the author are all anonymous to each other. The submitted work is entered anonymously to limit any possible bias, but there are many obstacles to submitting this type of work for review.
● Open review, in which there is mostly transparency through the review process. The reviewer’s names are visible on the article, the peer review report is published alongside the article, and the author and/or editor responses are also included.
In any of these models, you will likely receive critiquing, and when that response is unfavorable, you must decide how to respond to it.
Progressing Through Academics and Learning From Criticism
How each person handles criticism is unique to them, but as a scholar, you must learn to adjust and take what you feel is constructive to your work and let go of the rest. A good strategy to progress through your continued academic career while learning from criticism is as follows:
● Understand that any time you submit anything, whether it’s a grant proposal or a research paper, you are going to receive feedback on it and that feedback may not be favorable.
● Consider when you are going to read the feedback carefully. If you get an email or letter and know that it is in response to something you submitted, said, or did, it does not have to be opened and read in that moment. Leave it for a time when negative correspondence won’t affect something important that you’re supposed to do next.
● Read the feedback and allow yourself to feel and process the emotions that come with it before you make any decisions or respond.
● Logically consider your emotions when you have had time to reflect on them.
● Review the feedback again when you are less emotional, focusing on both constructive criticism and compliments.
● Read and retain the positive comments, knowing that you made an impact on your audience as you’d intended.
● List out the negative feedback into categories, such as “organization error,” “clarity concern,” etc.
● Apply the feedback to its place in your work and ask yourself if it’s accurate and applicable, and if so, if you want to keep what you already have or change it based on the reviewer’s suggestions.
● Make any changes you decide are relevant, review the new work after you have modified it, and let go of any criticism that you don’t agree with. From there, you can resubmit for further review or for a publication, and move on.
You will not agree with or appreciate all feedback, but knowing this in advance can help you decide which points are worth considering and which ones are not worth stressing over and carrying with you into your future research.
Submit Your Work for Review With Impactio
When you’re ready to have your work peer-reviewed or sent out for publishing, use a program that is streamlined for efficiency to put together your research, like Impactio. Impactio is an all-in-one platform specifically designed for academic scholars to take them through the process from compiling their findings, to peer-review, to final publication.
With Impactio, you can spend less time dealing with the stresses of getting your document ready for professional publication and more time making your critiquing adjustments and moving on to the next stage of your academic career.