Peer Review: Qualitative Analysis of a Latin American Group of Reviewers’ Experience

La revisión por pares: análisis cualitativo de la experiencia de un grupo de revisores latinoamericanos

José Daniel Morales-Castilloa,† , Teresa I. Fortoulb,‡,* , Melchor Sánchez Mendiolac,§

aPrograma de Maestría y Doctorado en Pedagogía, UNAM, Cd. Mx., México.
bDepartamento de Biología Celular y Tisular, Facultad de Medicina, UNAM, Cd. Mx. México.
cCoordinación de Desarrollo Educativo e Innovación Curricular, UNAM, Cd. Mx., México.

Recibido: 15-febrero-2020. Aceptado: 4-abril-2020.

* Autor para correspondencia: Teresa I. Fortoul. Teresa I. Fortoul. Tercer piso, Edificio «A», Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Cd. Mx. México. Teléfono: 55 56232182. Correo electrónico:


La revisión por pares es responsabilidad de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 2007-5057/© 2020 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Medicina. Este es un artículo Open Access bajo la licencia CC BY-NC-ND ( ).

Palabras Clave

Arbitraje; Revisión por pares; Revisión por expertos; Publicación científica; México.


Arbitration; Peer review; Expert review; Scientific publication; Mexico.


Introduction: Peer-review is one of the fundamental pillars for the advancement of science. This process has been scarcely studied in Latin American scientific journals.

Objective: We performed a qualitative analysis about the perception of the process of peer review in a Latin American research journal of medical education.

Method: Qualitative interpretative study that recovered the experience narrated by a focus group of reviewers, regarding the process of peer review in the journal “Research in Medical Education”, published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico Faculty of Medicine.

Results: A group of seven reviewers identified four relevant peer review topics: 1) training as a reviewer, 2) motivations, 3) usefulness of peer review, and 4) proposals to improve arbitration.

Although usually there is little or no formal training for reviewers of scientific papers, those who participate in this process rely mainly on their professional experience and use strategies to perform evaluations that seek the production of reliable scientific knowledge. Despite the lack of payment for this activity, reviewers find their main motivation to devote hours of work to peer-review is their own personal learning. Finally, participants noted that the peer review process is poorly recognized by the academic community and seldom considered in academic evaluations.

Conclusions: Peer review is a fundamental activity in the process of scientific publication; however, it does not obtain enough recognition from the scientific and academic community. Peer reviewers are motivated primarily by the task’s inherent learning, however, it is desirable to continuously increase the quality of reviews through evaluation, feedback and recognition of reviewers and authors. It is necessary to make the actions undertaken by the publishing teams visible and thus consider editorial work in its totality.