New service user peer review programme launched

Joining a service user review panel with The Lancet Psychiatry: Application process is open!


Peer-review is an established process whereby selected experts are asked to read research papers and provide confidential feedback to researchers to inform the decisions made by Editors about whether a paper should be published or not. The peer-review process helps to validate and quality check research before it is shared publicly.


In general, the people who perform peer review for journals are researchers and come from academic backgrounds. But what about the people who are supposed to benefit from the research being conducted? How will a publication of research findings this affect their healthcare or services they use? What are their opinions on whether a piece of work is robust enough to warrant publication or have enough practical relevance to benefit people using services? This is something that a number of publishers have been considering recently and the McPin Foundation supports: extending peer review processes to include more diverse expertise.


McPin and The Lancet Psychiatry, have agreed to work together to train people who use mental health services to become service-user reviewers for the journal. We define service user reviewers as individuals without formal training as a scientist who have a strong interest in advancing mental health care through research and are keen to use their personal expertise from experience to contribute to the publishing process.  We have chosen the term ‘service user’ reviewers to emphasize the value of direct experiences gained from having been in receipt of mental health services because much of the material being reviewed, at least in the beginning, will be randomised controlled trials of treatments or services delivered within mental health care systems.


Our role at McPin in the process is to recruit 10 people and support the training programme. We believe it is really important to embed the expertise generated by mental health service user experience in all peer review processes. Indeed, at every stage of research production of new knowledge including prioritisation of research topic and leading research projects.


McPin hopes that by working with The Lancet Psychiatry, we can further this ambition and thus we welcome enquiries and applications for this call which opens today and closes on 19th October 2018.


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