Outstanding peer review work done by IA researchers
2018 May 15

The scientific reviewing done in 2017 by Diego Rubiera-Garcia and Pedro Figueira was recognised as outstanding by the editors of, respectively, Europhysics Letters and Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP), a publication of the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Pedro Figueira, who has been reviewing for PASP since 2013, was one of the five reviewers awarded by this journal with the Outstanding Reviewer Award 2017. He was an integrated researcher of the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA1) until January of 2018 and remains as an IA collaborator. Currently, he is Staff Astronomer of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in the Scientific Operations Department at Paranal Observatory, in Chile.

“A great deal of the work that we do in Astronomy is work for the community, in which each of us gives a little bit of ourselves, driven by our vision of science and our role in it, rather than by any reward or profit,” says Pedro Figueira. “It is thus an enormous pleasure to receive this award, because it makes me believe that I managed to have a constructive and positive input in the work of peer review, central to Astronomy and any other science.”

Pedro Figueira's research is focused on the detection and characterisation of extrasolar planets and on the development of instruments for this goals. Apart from the peer review contribution for several scientific journals, he is also approached to review projects for funding agencies in various countries and to review observation proposals, namely for ESO, the Observatory of Roque de Los Muchachos (La Palma), and the OPTICON network.

The IA researcher Diego Rubiera-Garcia was also awarded with the Distinguished Referee Award by Europhysics Letters for his peer review work done in 2017, the same year he started this collaboration with the journal. Rubiera-Garcia has been doing peer review for several other scientific publications, and he sees this distinction by Europhysics Letters as a recognition of the detail he puts into the review reports, which allows many papers to be improved on the basis of his feedback.

“This recognition further reinforces my commitment to engage into this very important part of scientific activity, namely, to raise the quality standards of what is published in the literature,” says Diego Rubiera-Garcia. The researcher was also distinguished with a Peer Review Award 2017 by Publons website, a platform dedicated to promoting peer review and to raising its visibility.

“What is more gratifying in a reviewer's work is to see how other people struggle to understand a particular topic. It is also a good opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and learn new things,” says Rubiera-Garcia.

The research of Diego Rubiera-Garcia is centred in the study of modifications to Einstein's theory of gravitation in order to describe space-time in regimes of extreme density, while avoiding the infinite physical values predicted by the classical theory.


1.The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences – IA) is the reference Portuguese research unit in space sciences and integrates researchers from the University of Lisbon and the University of Porto. The institute encompasses most of the field’s national scientific output and it was evaluated as Excellent in the last evaluation Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) commissioned from the European Science Foundation (ESF). IA's activity is funded by national and international funds, including Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (UID/FIS/04434/2013), POPH/FSE and FEDER through COMPETE 2020.

Diego Rubiera-Garcia
Pedro Figueira

Science communication Group
Sérgio Pereira
Ricardo Cardoso Reis
João Retrê (Coordination, Lisboa)
Daniel Folha (Coordination, Porto)

Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Outreach at IA