Authors and Advisors


Tim Vines, Ph. D.

Tim Vines is a consultant with Origin Editorial, where he advises journals and publishers on peer review. Prior to that he founded Axios Review, an independent peer review company that helped authors find journals that would publish their work. He was the Managing Editor for the journal Molecular Ecology for eight years, where he led their adoption of data sharing and numerous other initiatives. He has also published research papers on peer review, data sharing, and reproducibility (including one that was covered by Vanity Fair). He has a BSc and a PhD in evolutionary ecology from the University of Edinburgh and now lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Lead advisors

Rebecca L. Davies, Ph.D.

Rebecca L. Davies received her Ph.D. in comparative animal physiology from the University of Minnesota and is an Associate Professor in the Veterinary Population Medicine department at the College of Veterinary Medicine. She is the Director of Quality Central at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. Quality Central provides scientists with tools and support for integrating quality assurance (QA) best practices into academic research, service and training programs. Rebecca is developing training programs for research trainees and other scientists to help them use quality management systems and QA best practices to provide assurance that research data and records are accurate, complete, and can be readily reconstructed. This assurance stems from the use of good documentation practices, the integration of quality checkpoints throughout the research life cycle, and the adoption of research monitoring strategies to ensure continuous improvement.

Rebecca's interests include the adoption of voluntary QA practices within non-regulated research programs, sustainable models for incorporating research QA into basic research environments, research on research to improve research rigor and reproducibility, and the use of laboratory error data and QA metrics to drive continuous improvement in laboratory and research settings.

Richard Coico, Ph.D.

Richard Coico is Professor of Cell Biology and Medicine and Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Center at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. As an immunologist, his research focuses on the investigation of lymphocyte regulation of immune responses. His translational research activities include the study of peptide immunization strategies to develop effective vaccines. His laboratory uses computational and bioinformatics approaches to identify candidate peptide vaccines for hemorrhagic viruses such as Ebola and Lassa. His group was the first to identify immunogenic Lassa virus peptides capable of stimulating protective cytotoxic T cell responses. Richard has been a leader in medical education, specifically as it relates to the biomedical disciplines of microbiology and immunology. He has served on the National Board of Medical Examiners and has chaired several national meetings including those sponsored by the Association of Medical School Microbiology and Immunology Chairs organization of which he is past-President.


David B. Allison, Ph.D.

David B. Allison led a small team of experts in research rigor, reproducibility, and transparency in conducting this review. The team consists of Dr. Andrew W. Brown, Dr. Cynthia M. Kroeger, and Ms. Stephanie Dickinson, all from Indiana University's School of Public Health-Bloomington.

David B. Allison is a Distinguished Professor and Dean at Indiana University's School of Public Health-Bloomington. He has authored over 500 scientific publications and received many awards, including the National Science Foundation Administered Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM; 2006), the Alabama Academy of Science's "Wright A. Gardner" award, and the American Society of Nutrition's (ASN) "Dannon Institute Mentorship" award (both in 2013). He is a Fellow of, amongst others, the American Statistical Association (ASA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2009, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. He was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 2013. In 2012 he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies and currently serves on the board-appointed Committee on Science and Technology Engagement with the Public for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. David's research interests include obesity and nutrition, quantitative genetics, clinical trials, statistical and research methodology, and research rigor and integrity.

Accessibility advisor

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with Masters in Human-Computer Interaction, Linguistics, and Information Science. She has over 15 years of experience as a manager with the online learning team at the University of Edinburgh, where she specialized in usable and accessible digital practice, tutored on the groundbreaking Masters in Digital Education, and developed online staff training on accessible e-learning and online tutoring skills. Since retiring from the University at the end of 2015, Wilma has provided consultancy services on all aspects of online learning, with a special focus on accessibility and usability issues.

Module structure



  • Introduction
  • Learning outcomes

Module files

    Module 1: Understanding your research area

    • Reading and understanding
    • The journal ecosystem
    • The structure of the literature
    • Searching the literature
    • Reading and reviewing
    • Assessing the literature
    • Writing literature reviews: Original research articles
    • Writing literature reviews: Review articles
    • Application


  • Module summary
  • Resource bank

Course features

Course features include:

  • Video interviews with a Graduate Student and a Ph.D. candidate where they discuss their methods for reading research literature.
  • Interactive graphics that demonstrate different reading strategies.
  • Real-life scenarios offering useful and practical advice.

Supporting institutions

  • Boston University, Boston MA
  • Duke University, Durham NC
  • Ohio State University, Columbus OH
  • Oxford University, Oxford UK
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN
  • University of Southern Maine, Portland ME