You want to write articles that get accepted? Do reviews.

At the end of my PhD, I started receiving invitation to review articles. At that moment, I felt honoured as if I had received the membership card of a very selective club.
Later, as a postdoc and professor, the number of invitations increased while my time available for such type of tasks decreased. However, I noticed something interesting that I wanted to test with my students.

What is the one question you ask yourself when submitting a paper: what will the reviewers think of it? Later, when you receive the reviews, how is the best way to address them? With my own experience reviewing papers, I started understanding what are the constraints of a reviewer and how you could organise a paper to increase your chances. I could see what other reviewers had said which gave me more insight. Also, I received rebuttals and could feel the impact on me of various styles.
How could I transfer this to my PhD students in the most effective way? How do we best learn anything? By experiencing it!
In the first years of a PhD, it would be difficult to be noticed by an editor. So instead of waiting, I give them an exercise: they perform the review of an article in parallel with me. We compare our reviews, also including what the other reviewers have said. And they also get to see the rebuttal.
This exercise is on the borderline concerning confidentiality. If this is an issue, it can be done once the paper is fully processed, even if less exciting.
Tasting makes you a better cook, but it is not the only component of haute cuisine. Similarly, this exercise provides insight about the way articles and rebuttals are perceived but you would still need to work on being specificmaking effective graphs, and many other aspects.
Enjoy your reviews and let me know how it worked out.

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