Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Peer Review System for Original Articles

Andrew W. Phillips, MD, MEd
AAEM/RSA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Gregory K. Wanner, DO, PA-C
AAEM/RSA Blog Deputy Editor

Meaghan Mercer, DO
AAEM/RSA President

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine Resident and Student Association is pleased to present a new peer review process for original articles. As the FOAMED movement continues to expand and becomes more accepted, we aim to provide trusted, pertinent information to our blog readers[1-3]. Whether clinical, departmental processes, medical education, tips for success, or any other researchable topic, the article will be peer reviewed and be noted as such with a symbol.

This notably excludes Modern Resident and Common Sense articles that are highlighted on the blog, and they will not bear the peer reviewed symbol.

Although there exists some controversy at this time about formally peer reviewing FOAMED versus simply allowing freely entered comments on the page[4], we do not view these review formats as mutually exclusive. Although articles need to be pertinent to emergency medicine, the blog accepts articles based on merit, not space restrictions, so the formal peer review portion can only enhance what is published. Comments will still be permitted on the site.

This is a limited peer review process since it is performed by residents and students. On the one hand, one could argue that a student or resident is not yet ready to be a peer reviewer. However, since these are all review articles, no primary research methods are employed. The reviewers are tasked with reviewing the references to ensure appropriate interpretation by the author. Moreover, AAEM-RSA is a resident and student organization, so we are exercising reviews among, truly, our peers. Nonetheless, our hope is to eventually develop a mentoring program for our reviewers, and we invite interested attendings to contact us at

The peer review form was created by the Publications Committee to embody the essentials of a quality paper while leaving flexibility for articles to discuss cutting edge ideas and creatively share information with readers. It is attached below to provide full disclosure of the process that vets the materials you read on our site.

The AAEM/RSA Board of Directors and Publications Committee are pleased to provide this even more rigorous process to help you provide the very best care to your patients and successfully navigate emergency medicine.

If you are interested being a peer reviewer, please contact us at


1. Duffy M. Have you FOAMed? Am J Nurs. 2014 Apr;114(4):59–63.

2. Hoffman L. The Problem With FOAMed. Emergency Medicine News. 2013 Mar 15.

3. Lex J. PRO/CON: Why #FOAMed is Essential to EM Education. epmonthlycom. 2014 Apr 7.

4. Thoma B, Chan T, Desouza N, Lin M. Implementing peer review at an emergency medicine blog: bridging the gap between educators and clinical experts. CJEM. 2014 Apr 1;16(0):1–4. 

Blog Submission Evaluation Form
Manuscript Title:
Peer Reviewer’s Name/Title:
Instructions for peer reviewers:
Note that reviewing is not blinded. Save the form to your computer before filling it out. Submit the completed form to the AAEM-RSA staff via email at

I. Rate the quality of the manuscript.
Please indicate your agreement (+) or disagreement (-) with each question. (Note: A submission must receive a (+) for every category to be published.)
___ The topic is appropriate for emergency medicine students, residents, and attendings.
___ The paper references credible peer-reviewed sources accurately. (Textbook references are acceptable but must not constitute the majority of references.)
___ References are formatted correctly in AMA citation format (examples below).
___ The content is evidence-based and appears accurate.
___ The paper is well written. Headings and subheadings are used well. Ideas are coherent and flow between paragraphs.

II. Positive Comments. Please remark as appropriate on particularly exceptional portions of the submission.

III. Areas Needing Improvement. Please remark as appropriate on areas needing improvement prior to publication (include specific recommendations for improvement and refer to the paragraph and/or line numbers).

IV. Accessories. Please list any accessory tables, figures, etc. that you feel would improve the submission.(Note that copyright permission will have to be obtained.)

V. Final Recommendation.
___Accept manuscript without revisions (as is)
___Ask author to revise and resubmit
___Reject manuscript (The article is not suitable for the blog, either because the topic is not suitable or manuscript quality is too poor.)