There are two primary reasons why Professor Aurelien Dantan, from Aarhus University, Denmark, referees for the Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics.
Firstly, he regards the peer review process as an important service to the scientific community; secondly, he reviews out of curiosity. As a reviewer, he finds it inspiring to be party to new physics research – whether specifically related to his field or not.
For this second reason, Professor Dantan expresses his interest in the article “Nonlinear quantum optics mediated by Rydberg interactions” (Firstenberg, Adams and Hofferberth 2016 Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 49), which he thought gives a concise and accessible review of the latest developments in this “exciting field”.
When reviewing, Professor Dantan wants to see a clear and rigorous presentation and interpretation of the results. It is also important that the paper adds something new to existing knowledge. His advice to first-time reviewers is to be thorough and fair, and to put forward as much constructive criticism as possible.
Professor Dantan feels honoured to have been recognised for his efforts through the Reviewer of the Year award. He believes reviewers should be acknowledged, particularly in view of the fact that there are an ever-increasing number of papers and journals.
This puts a heavy burden on the shoulders of referees, he says, and threatens to diminish both the quality of the peer-review process and the feedback to authors. One suggestion he has is to heighten editorial filtering, which would mean rejecting (possibly anonymously) more papers that are clearly not up to journal standards.