Career Tips & Advice

Reviewer Profile – Professor Luisa F Cabeza

Professor Cabeza shares the experience she has gained during a decade of reviewing research papers

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Professor Luisa F CabezaProfessor Luisa F Cabeza (born 1967) is a full Professor of Thermal Engineering at the University of Lleida (Spain), where she leads the research group GREA, an internationally recognised research group in thermal energy storage. 

She graduated in Chemical Engineering in 1992 and in Industrial Engineering in 1993 at the University Ramon Llull (Barcelona, Spain). She got a MBA in 1995 and a PhD in Industrial Engineering in 1996 at the same university. From 1996 to 1998, she held a postdoctoral position at the ERRC-ARS-USDA in Philadelphia (USA). In 1999, she joined the University of Lleida. 

Her research interests are thermal energy storage, energy efficiency and renewable energies, and buildings and industrial applications. Professor Cabeza is very active in working groups of the International Energy Agency, is the Thermal Storage Focus Leader of the Renewable Heating and Cooling European Platform and has participated in the Special Report on Renewable Energy of the IPCC and on its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)

She has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, has co-authored one book, edited one and co-edited five more. She has reviewed many papers in peer-reviewed journals and conferences.

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1. What do you enjoy most about being a reviewer?
What you can learn. Moreover, there is no better way to be updated on your peers' work than having to review their work. You always pay more attention to a paper that you review than to one that you read.

2. In the time that you've been a reviewer, what trends have you noticed?
I have been a reviewer for more than 10 years. I do more and more reviews every year. I have seen more papers being submitted lately, and not necessarily of better quality. My research is about energy, and energy is a hot topic today, not only in research, but also in politics and in our day to day lives. Therefore there is a lot being submitted for review and being published on the topic.
Another thing to highlight is the amount of Review papers submitted lately, especially in the last two to three years. This is probably due to the high impact these papers have.

3. How do you envision the role of the reviewer being different in the year 2020?
It will be more difficult to keep track of what is being published every year, therefore, it will be very difficult for a reviewer to find the novelty in each paper.

4. What advice would you give to a new reviewer?
See it as a way to learn and keep up to date with other researchers' work. Enjoy!! It should be a fun task. Do it when you are fresh in the day, not when you are already tired. And, of course, try to be as impartial as possible.

5. What would you change about the peer-review process if you could?
It is a very important job without any recognition. Editorial teams and research institutions need to have a dialog on how to acknowledge this work. All authors should see that if you want to publish in a peer-reviewed journal, you must also review other authors' manuscripts, and do it to a high quality. How to reach this? I don't know.
The process may be too long. How to shorten it? Another nice question, since I don't think that we can reduce the time that is given to the reviewers for their part in the process.

6. What do you think people would find most surprising about your role as a reviewer?
The huge amount of time I devote to this task.

7. How do you balance your role as a reviewer with your other roles?
I consider my role as a reviewer as part of my role as an author. So the time I devote to reviewing papers is part of my time I devote to publishing my research work, which is quite a bit. But I usually review the papers on the weekends, when I can find time to concentrate on the task.

8. What is your favorite quote?
"I only know that I know nothing".

9. What do you like to do for fun?
Work... not good to say, but I love being a researcher. Other hobbies are reading and my family.

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