The Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics is one of the highest-ranking nuclear physics journals, and includes both experimental and theoretical articles. Considering its high impact factor, Dr Christian Beck, from the Universite de Strasbourg, France, demands that the papers he reviews are rigorous and original; authors must be meticulous in the presentation of their results and include a bibliography. If any of these requirements are lacking, he will reject the manuscript.
Interestingly, one paper Dr Beck particularly enjoyed working on was not accepted for publication. Although both his reports were positive, a second referee did not share his views. This type of opposition does not deter Dr Beck, however; on the contrary, he finds it rewarding to come across differences in opinion. He is also gratified when authors take on board his suggestions and implement changes.
Both surprised and proud to have been awarded the Reviewer of the Year accolade, Dr Beck has three pieces of advice for those who are embarking on the peer review process for the first time:
1) Look out for originality and accuracy;
2) Write a full report that includes a list of typos, false statements that need correcting, a general overview and suggestions;
3) And finally, assess how the work advances the field, both experimentally and theoretically, and whether it offers a fresh perspective.