Dr. Sudesh Bekal is a Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at NMAM Institute of Technology in Nitte, India. He also holds the administrative position of Dean (Research and Development). He was instrumental in setting up the Energy Park at his institution, which is unique in the region. He has also established a laboratory for research on alternative fuels. As Dean, he is actively involved in research relating to energy for rural people.
Dr. Bekal has authored many peer-reviewed papers and has reviewed for Elsevier's multi-disciplinary Energy journal, the Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering (Springer), and Scientific Research and Essays (Academic Research).
He was one of the first in his region to develop technology for using inedible oil in IC engines and these days he is involved in research in the area of solar and wind energy.
1. What do you enjoy most about being a reviewer?
It offers me the chance to learn about the progress being made in my field of interest. Every paper that comes to me for reviewing brings in fresh knowledge. This invigorates me and challenges me to do a good job of reviewing.
2. In the time that you've been a reviewer, what trends have you noticed?
There is a growing tendency to use technology to make the submission of a paper and its reviewing easier and foolproof. Overall, this has not only made the process more enjoyable, but ensures quality output.
3. How do you envision the role of the reviewer being different in the year 2020?
The two countries with the highest population, and a desire to do well in life, are India and China. They are expected to make great strides in the area of research so there is going to be a huge burden on reviewers to review an ever increasing number of papers. Further, with the explosive growth in the various areas of research, the reviewers need be more versatile and must keep pace with the speed of advancing technology. I think more and more reviewers will have donned the hat of editorship while being a regular reviewer.
4. What advice would you give to a new reviewer?
To ensure that the paper can go through the various stages of the publication process, the reviewers must have the commitment to complete the review well before the deadline. Reviewers must also be able to review papers from a wide variety of areas.
5. What would you change about the peer-review process if you could?
In spite of reviews, there are still many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors found in the scripts. It would be useful if software was developed which could identify each and every mistake. The script can then be sent back to the author for corrections.
With the increase in the number of papers received, it is also important that they are processed faster. Hence the review time has to be reduced. Some sort of monetary benefit could be given if the review is done within a certain time period.
6. What do you think people would find most surprising about your role as a reviewer?
My ability to make time for reviewing papers on a regular basis.
7. How do you balance your role as a reviewer with your other roles?
Presently, I have to review two papers per month on average, so I have no difficulties in managing different roles. When a paper comes to me for reviewing, I divide it into several parts and assign certain time for each stage. This way, I have plenty of time to do other jobs as well. It is my practice to disappear for a few hours when I am reviewing.
8. What is your favorite quote?
There is no end to opportunities, if you have the mind to look for them.
9. What do you like to do for fun?
Read about cricket (the game).