The Reviewer of the Month for May 2024: Raquel A. C. Machado, PhD


Peer review ensures high-quality and accurate research publications. Monthly, the BiomolBiomed Editorial team honors a reviewer who provides exceptional, constructive feedback on manuscripts.

This month, we’re pleased to announce that the Reviewer of the Month Award goes to Raquel A. C. Machado, PhD, a Researcher at the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), São Paulo, Brazil. Dr. Machado’s review was exceptionally high-quality, offering authors crucial feedback that enhanced the clarity and rigor of their research.

Subsequently, we met with Dr. Machado to discuss her peer review methods and her perspectives on the publishing industry. Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

Please tell us more about your research interests and share your thoughts on recent advances or current issues that are currently shaping your field.

As a Cell Biologist, my research interests are deeply rooted in the fascinating developments within microscopy techniques, particularly the remarkable strides made in recent years. Moreover, the advancements in Cryogenic Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) have been nothing short of groundbreaking. Additionally, the ability to image biological specimens at extremely low temperatures provides unprecedented structural insights, revolutionizing our understanding of cellular components.

Furthermore, the emergence of Expansion Microscopy methods (ExM) has captivated my attention. This innovative approach involves physically enlarging cells and tissues within a swellable hydrogel through chemical procedures. Consequently, this enlargement facilitates enhanced resolution when using conventional microscopes. The implications of ExM in unraveling intricate details within cellular structures are truly exciting, opening new avenues for exploration and discovery in cell biology.

As we continue to push the boundaries of microscopic techniques, the potential for transformative breakthroughs in understanding fundamental biological processes becomes increasingly promising.

How do you balance your time between reviewing manuscripts and your own research projects? In your opinion, what are the most important qualities that a good reviewer should possess?

In managing my time, I allocate dedicated periods for manuscript reviews while preserving substantial blocks for my ongoing research projects. Additionally, I am discerning when it comes to accepting invitations to review manuscripts, making sure that the subject matter aligns closely with my expertise and interests. I believe in contributing valuable insights to my colleagues; therefore, I accept review invitations when I am confident in providing constructive feedback.

Effective communication skills are indispensable, enabling the reviewer to articulate critiques and suggestions clearly and constructively. Likewise, timeliness is also a vital attribute because a prompt review process is essential for advancing scientific discourse.

What are some common mistakes that authors make in their submissions, and how can they be avoided?

One common pitfall that authors often encounter is making a misjudgment in selecting an appropriate journal for their manuscript. To circumvent this, authors should thoroughly research and consider the scope, focus, and audience of potential journals.

Another frequent mistake lies in the abstract-writing process. Authors may sometimes neglect the importance of crafting a concise and informative abstract that clearly outlines the objectives of their work and highlights its novelty. To evade this error, authors should meticulously structure their abstracts, succinctly summarizing the key findings and emphasizing the unique contributions of their research. A well-crafted abstract not only captivates the reader’s interest but also serves as a critical tool for editors and reviewers in evaluating the manuscript’s significance.

We’re thrilled to honor Dr. Machado as our Reviewer of the Month and we’re grateful for her contributions to the scientific community. Furthermore, we hope Dr. Machado’s example inspires reviewers to aim for excellence and underscores the importance of peer review in the scientific publishing ecosystem.