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Medical student journals (MSJs) refer to a group of student-run and edited periodicals that publish student authored or coauthored peer-reviewed articles.1 Their main objective is to promote academic research and publishing among the medical student community serving as an avenue for students to share their scholarly work, exchange research ideas and familiarise themselves with the publishing and peer-review processes.2
Peer review is the process of evaluating manuscripts for validity, quality and originality. It is widely regarded as the most basic obligation of scholarly journals and an essential step to safeguard the integrity of scientific communication.3 The peer-review process adopted by MSJs is often ‘student-friendly’,1 4 which caters for the relative inexperience of such junior authors. Implementing a supportive and informative peer-review process is hoped to encourage students to continue participation in both the research and publication enterprises regardless of the outcome of their submission.
MSJs continue to face challenges with a relatively high attrition rate compared with mainstream biomedical journals.1 Due to the low visibility and presumed poor quality of published articles, the feasibility of MSJs as stand-alone journals has recently been debated.1 4 Transparency of the peer-review process has been shown to reliably predict the quality of academic journals.5 We sought to examine peer-review practices and policies employed by MSJs in order to investigate whether they offer transparent peer review; this is hoped to inform student-authors about the peer-review process prior to submitting their work to MSJs.
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