Reviewer profile meet Louli Gordon

In this issue's Reviewer Profile, we speak with Iouli Gordon, a Physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Atomic and Molecular Physics Division) located in Cambridge, MA, USA. Here he shares some of his reviewer experiences with us.

About the author

iouli_gordonLouli E. Gordon is a Physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Atomic and Molecular Physics Division) located in Cambridge, MA, USA. He obtained his Diploma in Engineering Physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and his PhD degree in Physics from the University of Waterloo (Canada). His research focuses on the laboratory and theoretical molecular spectroscopy of atmospheric and astrophysical interest. He works on maintenance and further development of the HITRAN spectroscopic database which is an indispensable tool in many areas of science and industry.
Apart from serving as a reviewer for scientific journals Iouli has served as an external reviewer for the NASA proposals. He is also a member of fellowship selection committee at his institution

What do you enjoy most about being a reviewer?

I enjoy being able to contribute to science, not only through my own research but also through offering constructive criticism and suggestions to other researchers.


In the time that you've been a reviewer, what trends have you noticed?

I have noticed that unfortunately papers on the same subject but from different laboratories are becoming increasingly disconnected from each other. It is surprising because scientific literature search engines are actually becoming more and more efficient. 

How do you envision the role of the reviewer being different in the year 2020?
I think the role of the reviewer has not changed in many decades and I do not see a trend or a need for drastic changes.

What advice would you give to a new reviewer?
If you think something is not clear or is misleading, do not be afraid to point it out. If you did not get it, most likely other readers will not either. Even if authors write everything correctly, they may need to rethink how to make their thoughts clearer to the reader

What would you change about the peer review process in the scientific journal publishing industry, if you could?
Unfortunately, a lot of my colleagues from other institutions suffer from a lack of access to some scientific Journals, especially to online materials. This undermines the reviewing process, apart from causing many other problems. It would be good if publishers provided reviewers with temporary access to their online materials. It would help the quality of reviews as well as serving as a reward to reviewers for their service. Some publishers provide reviewers with temporary access to the abstracts of the papers, but not the text.* Therefore, it is not helpful enough.

On a separate note it would be good if all journals would have at least two reviewers per paper.

*Editor’s note – Elsevier provides reviewers with 30 days e-access to Scopus and ScienceDirect (including access to full-text articles) upon acceptance of a task to review a manuscript.

What do you think people would find most surprising about your role as a reviewer?
I do not consider reviewing as a competitive sport and do not think I should be surprising anyone

How do you balance your role as a reviewer with your other roles?
Reviewing is an important part of my scientific career. Apart from simple courtesy (as obviously someone has to review my papers), reviewing also offers an opportunity to be more aware of recent progresses in my field. 


What is your favourite quote?
“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” Mark Twain.

What do you like to do for fun?
I like to play and watch soccer. I also enjoy exploring different cuisines, both in restaurants and at home.

 

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