Peer Review Time

October may seem a long time from now, but preparations continue for the AGMA Fall Technical meeting. I’m not presenting a paper this year, but I just got through reviewing a number of papers that will be on the program. Peer review is an important part of ensuring high quality and relevant content for one of the premier power transmission symposiums in the world. As happens every other year, this year’s meeting will be held in conjunction with Gear Expo (in Detroit).

A complete list of the papers to be presented is available at the AGMA website (www.agma.org) and in advertising in our magazine. Every paper is reviewed by three or more qualified engineers before the final revised version is presented.

Reviews are not the same as editing. Instead of checking for spelling and grammar, reviewers are asked to comment on the logic of the conclusion, the methodology used, the usefulness of information to readers, and the presence of a commercial slant. The latter is always a difficult call, as companies often see their new features as world-changing, while competitors beg to differ. No one wants to sit through a thirty-minute commercial and peer review is an important protection against that.

Peer review’s greatest contribution, in my opinion, is ensuring that the topics offer new and unique information. The volunteer reviewers have a wide range of interests, experience, and opinions. While their identities are not shared with the authors, their comments are. A different group decides which papers are on the program so the gear community has multiple opportunities to vet the content.

Being selected for the Fall Technical Meeting and clearing peer review is no assurance that your conclusions are “right.” The nature of our business is that opinions are seldom unanimous. A group of gear engineers can look at the same application and come up with different solutions based upon their experience. A peer reviewed paper does ensure that the community believes the information presented is worth considering when making future decisions.

Gear Technology has proudly published FTM papers since its founding and makes all of its content available on-line in searchable archives — at no charge.

About Charles D. Schultz 661 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

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