Blog: Peer Review Checklist

We all get asked to review, which can be a laborious task. I made a checklist which helps me and might help you too with publication peer review in neuroscience.Checklist

This checklist is work in progress and I am adding new methods regularly.

  • General
    • Catalogue Numbers for all products used
    • Statistical power details provided/ appropriate sample number used
  • Sample Generation
    • Cell Lines
      • accession number and the gender of each cell line used
      • where the identities of the cell lines confirmed prior to the experiments? (e.g. Short Tandem Repeat (STR) Profiling)
    • Animal experiments (any)
      • Species, gender, source, age
      • Housing (lighting, enrichment, number per cage, food type)
    • Brain Microdialysis
      • Post-operative recovery long enough (>72h to avoid effect of analgesic/antiseptic drug)
      • Flow rate appropriate for mice (<1.5ul/min) and rat (<3ul/min)
      • Appropriate pH (7.4) and osmolarity (290mOsm/kg) of artificial CSF (Rosen and Andrew 1990, DOI: 10.1016/0306-4522(90)90052-6)
      • Sampling interval appropriate for targets & hypothesis
    • Animal Treatment
      • pH of administered solution
      • Concentration justification (e.g. clinical dose relevance if appropriate)
      • Treatment timing justification (e.g. half-life, target occupancy)
      • State route of administration
    • Stem Cell Differentiation (Engel et al. 2016; DOI 10.1007/s00018-016-2265-3)
      Appropriate differentiation protocol for desired cell type/culture 1. Method creates suitable cell type composition for hypothesis testing
      2. Cell phenotype characteristics can be developed in vitro
      3. Differentiation process follows in vivo developmental pathway
      Culturing method 1. cell seeding density and media supplement concentrations and origin details of each stem cell line
      2. O2 concentration for differentiation and hypothesis testing
      3. extracellular environment for each differentiation stage
      Confirm culture quality 1. Differentiation progress confirmed via marker expression consistency at relevant check points
      2. Record culture composition via expression ratios of relevant markers for each line
      3. Perform functional assays to confirm culture suitability for hypothesis testing
    • Human Samples
      • report the demographic details (age, gender, duration of illness) of the donors
    • Gene editing
      • sequence of the shRNA used to knockdown and mRNA/protein expression change confirmation
      • Sequence of plasmids used to tag/overexpress/knockdown targets
      • CRISPR construct sequence and modification evidence
      • CRISPR transfection method
  • Sample Analysis
    • Immunohistochemistry/cytochemistry
      • provide for each primary & secondary antibody the catalogue number, used concentration and blocking agent present during the incubation period
      • For co-localization analysis:
        • Within the same cell: was a confocal microscope used? If not, how thick where the tissue sections? (i.e. likelihood of multiple cells on the same spot)
        • Co-localization analysis method
    • Immunoblot/Western Blot
      • Western Blotting Minimal Reporting Standard, Gilda et al. 2015, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135392
      • provide for each primary & secondary antibody the catalogue number, used concentration and blocking agent present during the incubation period
      • a full blot image of each target and molecular mass of band of interest stated
      • appropriateness of each reference protein confirmed for the samples used
      • How the image was collected and quantified
    • Real Time PCR
      • Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments (Bustin et al. 2009, DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2008.112797)
      • Provide the essential details required by the MIQE standard
      • provide the gene symbol, sequence accession number, calibration curve and efficiency, and description of normalization method
      • appropriateness of each reference genes confirmed for the samples used
      • Analysis method used for comparative gene expression analysis (Schmittgen and Livak 2008, DOI: 10.1038/nprot.2008.73)
    • Next: Autoradiography
  • Coming soon: Animal Behaviour
    • Open field / Locomotor activity test
    • Y-Maze test
    • Prepulse Inhibition
    • T-Maze
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