Reviewer Spotlight: Dr. Kimron Shapiro
The quality of eNeuro depends on the effort that is generously contributed by our reviewers, who lend their expertise and time helping to ensure we publish great science. This Reviewer Recognition series introduces the research of selected reviewers, as well as their strategies for approaching peer review of a paper. Dr. Kimron Shapiro is currently an Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Birmingham. Kim's research in the Visual Experience Lab focuses on attention and memory. He has also been working on developing a cognitive therapy for the memory loss experienced by ageing individuals.
"Over the years I have learned that my expertise can best serve the reviewing process by identifying significant major issues that are problematic (or not) and leave the minor issues to more junior colleagues whose expertise on very specific aspects may be more up-to-date than mine."
Kimron Shapiro, PhD
Tell us about your work.
My current research question involves understanding how the brain stores and retrieves multimodal events, particularly auditory and visual, as these are processed in geographically different neural areas. To study this question, participants receive a series of paired auditory/visual stimuli and after a short interval, are presented with one of these stimuli and asked which other stimulus was presented with it. The stimuli are presented both simultaneously and temporally offset; the latter by various intervals. EEG is recorded during this process, which enables my colleagues and I to reveal that temporal simultaneity provides the best conditions for memory and (putatively) the hippocampus coordinates pairing the two signals.
In addition to the above main line of research, I have for years researched and published over 30 papers on a phenomenon known as the ‘attentional blink’ (AB). The AB reveals that, once a target is detected in a rapidly presented stream of stimuli, the brain does not process to a level of conscious awareness any further presented stimuli for approximately 300 milliseconds.
Finally, with colleagues, I have been developing a cognitive therapy for the memory loss experienced by ageing individuals, especially those in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The therapy involves a combination of cognitive training and electrical brain stimulation. I am currently in discussion with a company to commercialise the technology.
What do you do when not in the lab?
I have two hobbies that I pursue actively, which involve long trail walks and cycling (both road and trail). The pursuits have helped to maintain my sanity as academia is a wonderful but difficult career to pursue.
What advice would you share with new reviewers?
My advice on reviewing an article is to read it quickly from start to finish to get an overview of what it’s about and your general assessment, i.e., thumbs up or down. Following this, re-read those sections that you found in the quick read to be problematic and focus on what needs to be done. I typically take a few notes during the quick read to guide me on sections to re-read in detail.
My approach is to read the abstract and decide if I need to do some background reading for context or to bring me up-to-date before I follow the steps outlined above.
What have you learned over the years that has made you an effective reviewer?
Over the years I have learned that my expertise can best serve the reviewing process by identifying significant major issues that are problematic (or not) and leave the minor issues to more junior colleagues whose expertise on very specific aspects may be more up-to-date than mine.
What is your experience as a reviewer with eNeuro's consultation review process?
I find the consultation process to be very good in principle, but less good in practice. To be specific, I don’t have the time to engage to the extent required to make the process work. My view is that this may work for some but not for me. I am of the opinion that the person who is required to make the decision take the decision after receiving the reviews requested. I do appreciate that there may be occasions where a reviewer is unclear in a point s/he is making, which would justify asking the reviewer for clarification. But to expect the reviewers to discuss the issues until they reach consensus is asking too much, especially given the quantity of papers being submitted.
Kimron Shapiro, PhD
Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
University of Birmingham
Visual Experience Laboratory
eNeuro offers authors the choice to receive double-anonymous review. Additionally, the Reviewing Editor and two reviewers will consult to reach a consensus on the decision and to draft a synthesis of the reviewers' comments explaining the decision. These review syntheses are published alongside each accepted paper. Learn more about eNeuro's Review Process.
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