Earlier this year, somewhere in April, I wrote down the first words of what would become a 20-page review paper. I felt it would be a timely addition to the literature now all the data of the HAARLEM study were published; if only because there were no recent good-quality review papers available on androgen abuse and its side effects. The closest paper aching to such would be "Androgen Misuse and Abuse" by David Handelsman – an excellent paper but with a (far) broader scope.
I decided to stick to the somatic side effects and provide an up-to-date summary on each of them, and, where applicable/noteworthy, describe some (self-)medication practices or even (soft) treatment recommendations. After a few weeks (or weekends I should say) of writing, the paper became quite wordy, to say the least. It didn't take too long before I ended up with over 10.000 words. Around this time I also decided to seek some help in making sure the manuscript was accurate, well-written and of good quality. I reached out to the internist-endocrinologists of the HAARLEM study – Diederik Smit and Pim de Ronde – to co-author. After sending them my initial draft, they responded enthusiastic and provided valuable feedback that would take the quality of the manuscript to a higher level.
After submitting the review paper to Frontiers in Endocrinology, I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback from two of the peer reviewers. Clearly, they were well-versed in the subject and I gladly incorporated their feedback into the manuscript. One of them was a native English-speaker and, besides content-related feedback, also pointed out various "grammatical gremlins", as he called them. As a non-native speaker, I'm very happy with that kind of feedback too. The other peer reviewer recommended acceptance without any revision, which is quite unique I'd say. I think it's also worth noting that there was a third peer reviewer, who recommended rejection. Ironically, besides his feedback being written in poor English, it also gave away that he had no idea about androgen research and he failed to cite or critique a single passage from the entire manuscript. I'm glad the editor ignored his feedback.
Ultimately, after two rounds of incorporating feedback from the peer reviewers, this led to the manuscript as it is published today: "Anabolic–androgenic steroids: How do they work and what are the risks?". I think it forms an excellent addition to the literature, and I hope my readers think so too!