Reports on Progress in Physics: 2016 Reviewer Awards

Reviewer of the Year: Dr Joe Thompson, Los Alamos National Laboratory, United States

According to Dr Joe Thompson, peer review serves an essential purpose and must remain an integral part of the scientific endeavour. Its continued success, however, rests on the availability of a sufficiently broad, responsive and informed pool of referees upon which journals can call.

Serving as a referee is a professional obligation that should not be taken lightly, says Dr Thompson. He recognizes that it can be frustrating and time-consuming, but on the whole he sees the process as very rewarding. Reviewers have an opportunity to be exposed to the most recent developments, approaches to problems and concepts, and to remain aware of trends in their field. More importantly, peer review gives robust credibility to the scientific enterprise.

Reports on Progress in Physics attracts high-quality manuscripts that Dr Thompson finds enjoyable to review. He particularly liked a recent focused issue on strongly correlated electron systems. One especially ‘aspirational’ article that resonated with him was by Mike Norman on the subject of materials by design: Materials design for new superconductors. Describing it as an atypical scientific paper, Dr Thompson appreciated the fact that it was not bogged in superfluous detail.

Dr Thompson urges first-time reviewers not to approach the task with bias. Open-mindedness and considerate rigour, he says, are key to a review that benefits the manuscript’s authors and the health of the scientific enterprise as a whole.

Outstanding Reviewers:

  • Professor Andrey Chubukov, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, United States
  • Dr Robert Endres, Imperial College London, UK
  • Dr Gautam Menon, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, India
  • Professor Peter Riseborough, Temple University, United States
  • Dr Werner Rodejohann, Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kernphysik, Germany
  • Professor Manfred Sigrist, Eidgenossiche Technische Hochschule – Zurich, Switzerland