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Peer Review Week2020 marks the sixth annual celebration of Peer Review Week! The goal of this annual event is to acknowledge the importance that the peer review process plays in helping to maintain scientific quality. Peer review can be the most thankless part of the scholarly communications lifecycle--for reviewers it can be time-consuming but likewise entail minimal recognition. However, peer review is also central to helping ensure that things such as study design, data integrity, and the interpretation of results are clearly vetted. Consequently, peer review weeks strives to showcase the work of editors and reviewers, advance best practices, and highlight the latest applications.


This year’s Peer Review Week theme is “Trust in Peer Review” and the objective is to underscore why peer review is central to the process of creating trust worthy content. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, 2020 saw the rapid growth of preprint servers such as medRxiv, bioRxiv, and others. While the growth of preprint servers has helped to expedite the transmission of scientific information, the rapid rise in the dissemination of content prior to the peer reviewed process has likewise resulted in a greater potential for error. What will the relationship between preprints and peer-reviewed publications look like going forward? This will likely be one of the biggest questions in scholarly communications for 2021 and beyond. 


Looking for some ways that you can help to celebrate Peer Review Week September 21st-September 25th? 

  • Teach a student how to structure an effective review. 
  • Recommend a younger colleague as a reviewer. 
  • Track your work as a peer reviewer through your publons or ORCID iD  researcher profile. 
  • Or just finalize the review that has been sitting on your desk. 


Happy Peer Review Week! 

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We learned that the issue was not vendor-related, but was caused by the browser.  If you experience issues in accessing PDFs via Chrome, please try an alternate browser (e.g. Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc.).
As always if you run into issues with any resources in our collection, please let us know as soon as possible.

The Washington Research Libraries Consortium Loan Service (CLS) is back in service. CLS allows Himmelfarb users to borrow items at no cost from other DC area academic libraries. Loans are typically 5 weeks in length and can often be renewed if needed.

To request a book or other physical item from another library, use Health Information @ Himmelfarb and select the option to search Articles + GW Consortium Catalog as shown below:

Once you’ve found an item you’d like to borrow, click the title in the search results to open and check How to Get It (as shown below) to see if another library in the consortium has a copy available. Then sign in to see the option for the Consortium Loan Request form.

Use your NetID to sign in and then select Consortium Loan Service Request.

Fill out the form designating a date when you will no longer need the item if it is required within a certain amount of time.  Please note that while service has been restored, WRLC’s courier service is currently only running twice a week. This means items may take about a week for delivery. We anticipate that delivery times will improve as more libraries open and restore services.

You will receive a notification via email when your item arrives at Himmelfarb. If you currently do not have physical access to Himmelfarb Library, you may pick-up your items in the Ross Hall courtyard (9am - 7pm, Monday - Thursday, 9am - 5pm, Friday, and 1pm - 6pm, Saturday - Sunday).  Please contact the Circulation Desk at 202-994-2962 just before you arrive in the Ross Hall courtyard.  

Nursing students at VSTC can request to have their items shipped to the VSTC Library for pickup. Either contact Circulation staff or request VSTC delivery in the Comments section of the request form.

Stacy Brody

Stacy Brody is a Reference and Instruction Librarian at the Himmelfarb Library. Recently, she published “UMLS users and uses: a current overview” in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association based on her research during a fellowship with the National Library of Medicine. We asked Stacy what advice she might have for other early career researchers looking to publish their research. 


Q: How did you get the idea for your research? Was it a case report?

A: I conducted the research as part of my fellowship year at the National Library of Medicine. The general concept was proposed by my advisors and was part of a larger effort. 


Q: How did you structure your research?

A: We conducted a scoping review pilot project. We did not quite know, at first, how to go about collecting the information we wanted. I had heard of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, but we did not have a question that could be answered by these methods. We were interested not in the results presented in research articles but in the methods and tools used. We needed a landscape view, a map of the research. We wanted to know what was out there! There are many types of reviews, and the scoping review method fit our needs.


Q: How did you find time to research and polish your publication?

A: Fortunately, the bulk of the research and initial writing were built into the fellowship year. I found it difficult to make time, after leaving that program, to keep tabs on the progress of the work, which grew to incorporate additional research data.


Q: How did you select a journal for your research?

A: We chose an association journal. We knew members of that association would be interested in learning about our work. We did not consider impact factor - only relevance to the journal audience.


Q: Was your research ultimately published by the first journal that you approached?

A: Yes - the topic was a good fit for the journal.


Q: Is there anything that you learned about the publication process that you would like to share with other researchers?

A: Team members may be more or less involved at different parts of the process - and that is ok! I was heavily involved in the beginning of the work. My collaborators were able to continue after I left the fellowship, and they brought on additional hands as needed. What was important was being able to share files and make sure team members knew how/where to find documents needed to finalize the piece. 


Be sure to 

  • Document. Document. Document. 
  • Save files in a drive team members can access even after you leave
  • Name files so that your collaborators know what they are!


Q: How did you work with your professor or adviser during the publication process?

A: My colleagues handled interactions with the publisher. They alerted me when I needed to create an account with the publisher.  


In previous publishing experience, where I have been sole or lead author, I have learned that I will need to

  • ensure my ORCID iD is linked, 
  • review manuscripts before publishing, 
  • name and store files so that it is easy to upload (and sometimes re-upload images) to meet standards, and 
  • When necessary, make sure the article is deposited in PMC (if you are NIH-funded, for instance).


Q: Is there anything that your professor or adviser did during the publication process that you found helpful?

A:I was thankful my adviser handled most of the publication process. With multi-authored papers, it can be challenging to make sure everyone has completed their piece of the puzzle, whether it is signing off on a final draft before submission or creating accounts with the publisher. Having one person oversee that (and prod people to get things done!) is helpful! She was also able to ensure the publication was published in accordance with NIH guidelines, as the work was completed while I was a fellow.

AAMC: Journals for COVID-19 ResearchDo you have important COVID-19 related research, but are unsure of where to publish? The Medical Education Research Scholarship and Evaluation (MESRE) Section of AAMC’s Group of Education Affairs has put together an annotated bibliography of journals targeting COVID-19 related research to help!

Many of the nearly 50 journals listed in the bibliography either have special calls for articles or are accepting COVID-19 related pieces. This bibliography provides information about special issues, submission guidelines, and more.   The goal of the MESRE is to "enhance the quality of research in medical education and to promote its application to educational practice." and additional information is available on the MESRE website.  

Healthy Living @ Himmelfarb calendarWhether you're staying healthy at home or venturing out for a socially-distanced outing, Healthy Living @ Himmelfarb has some ideas for your summer!

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous, extraordinary challenges which have greatly altered our everyday lives.  This public health crisis has led to a demand for information as there is a universal desire for solutions to the problems of protecting ourselves from the virus and curing those who have been infected.  As research efforts have accelerated to meet these demands there has been a growing tension as the desire for quick, potentially lifesaving information has led to the spread of inaccurate or misunderstood reports which have been seized upon by large portions of the lay public.  This tension within the scientific world between speed and certainty is not new, but the current pandemic has made it more obvious to all.

The world of scientific publishing is notoriously slow and deliberate, as processes like peer-review have long provided a check on the flow of scientific information to ensure quality before the results of research are disseminated to the wider scientific community and ultimately to the public.  However during this ongoing crisis, there has been a rise in the publication of pre-prints (i.e., manuscripts which have not undergone formal peer review) as researchers try to get their potentially life-saving information into the hands of clinicians and policy makers as soon as possible.  Pre-print services, such as ArXiv in the physics community, have existed for a long time, but they are now receiving more attention than ever.

Rapid Reviews COVID-19In an effort to add a gate-keeper function to the growing world of COVID-19 related pre-prints, MIT Press and the University of California have developed Rapid Reviews: COVID-19, a so-called “overlay journal”, whose function is to sift through the most popular COVID-19 related pre-prints and provide a form of peer-review.   This differs from the traditional publishing model as the pre-prints will be selected by editors of the journal as opposed to being directly submitted by the authors themselves.  In fact, though authors will be informed that their work has been selected for review by the journal, they will not have a say in whether their pre-print is reviewed or not.  Additionally this journal will differ from others in that the identities of the reviewers will be made known, which will hopefully encourage thoughtful and careful reviews.

It is hoped that this effort will provide some of the benefits of the traditional peer-review process without significantly slowing the dissemination of important, life-saving information during this time of crisis.  It will be interesting to see if efforts like this can lead to more long-lasting changes in the world of scholarly communication when our current time of crisis has passed.

Take a moment for yourself and check out  Healthy Living @ Himmelfarb's  July Study Break Guide!    This guide offers idea for relaxation, restoration, and creativity including watching DC's zoo animals online, taking a yoga class, or trying your hand at paint by numbers!

July Study Break Calendar


Book Spine PoetryOnly one week left to enter!

Stack some books from your collection, snap a photo, and share an image on Instagram. Be sure to tag @himmelfarbgw and #gwspinepoetry for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Politics and Prose. Images must be posted between June 1 and June 30, 2020, to be considered eligible. Only GWU SMHS, SON, and SPH affiliates are eligible to win. Entries will be evaluated for originality and creativity. Winner will be announced July 7, 2020.

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