In collaboration with the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD) and RMD Open, EMEUNET allowed senior reviewers to critically discuss submitted manuscripts with mentees. At the end of the programme, senior reviewers certified the capability of mentees to independently conduct a good quality review.
The programme is organised by members of the EMEUNET Peer Mentoring Subcommittee. Several strategies, such as face-to-face meetings and videoconferences, were implemented recently, following the outcome of a previous survey among mentees.
To further assess the benefits and challenges of the programme, a survey was sent out. Almost all respondents said their overall experience with the programme was positive, that the objectives were met, and that they would recommend the programme to others.
Mentors indicated an initial average peer-review skill level of 5.2 for content and 4.2 for form, which improved by 2.7 and 3.2 points, respectively. Interestingly, mentee improvement scores paralleled those of mentors. Overall, 90% of mentors said the programme had helped improve their own skills in peer-reviewing, mentoring, and teaching.
The number of peer reviews after completion of the program varied significantly between mentees. For most, the number of peer-reviews stayed the same or increased, and almost half reported they had been invited as an independent reviewer for ARD and/or RMD Open after completion of the programme.
Challenges reported by mentors were communication with mentees, stringent deadlines, and the programme being time-consuming; challenges for mentees were communication with their mentor, deadlines, and insufficient clarity of the process. Areas for improvement will be addressed in future editions of the programme.