The Peer Review Process


I began this blog with an appeal for abstracts for the 2014 AGMA Fall Technical Meeting. For those of you who had an abstract accepted, this is a gentle reminder that your final draft is due May 15th. Based on previous experience, I forced myself to complete this year’s paper a bit early. Not to gloat, but the formatted version is already at AGMA headquarters and ready for peer review.

The peer review process has been in place for many years as an aid to both the association and the authors. AGMA and its members are protected from overly commercial or technically inaccurate presentations. The author(s) get a couple of experienced sets of eyes on their paper — eyes that can catch those copy gremlins, grammatical errors, and miss-marked graphs.

The reviewers are volunteers from the AGMA ranks, many of whom have presented papers at past meetings. It is similar to the assignments given technical editors here at Gear Technology; the reviewers look for things that might lead to misunderstanding amongst the audience and some reviewers can be rather direct in their criticism.

You don’t submit a paper for peer review if you have a thin skin. This is my fourth time through the gauntlet and not every review has been completely positive. Some questioned my choice of topics and one didn’t think reverse engineering should be mentioned in a public meeting — much less be the topic of a paper. I am happy to say the audience disagreed. That paper was very popular and caused much discussion, as I had hoped.

This year’s submission may get criticized for being written in the first person rather than the “editorial we.” I feel very strongly about the topic; much of the paper is an account of how I learned about high contact ratio gears over the past 35 years. During my research I read some early papers and reference books that were obviously written before this unwritten, third-person narrator rule somehow gained currency.

Our gearing forefathers could be very passionate about their trade, and I think that is a good thing. There is no need to disguise personal experience in a detached and dispassionate voice.

Rather, our industry needs more passion, more opinion.

About Charles D. Schultz 672 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.