- Open Access
A clarion call to the community of current and potential journal reviewers
© The Author(s) 2018
- Received: 30 June 2018
- Accepted: 3 July 2018
- Published: 19 July 2018
If you are reading this commentary then it is most probable that you have been invited and even participated in the review of submissions to a scientific journal at some point in your career. For those of you who have performed reviews, thank you for your contribution to the advancement of high quality science. The purpose of this commentary is to encourage and recruit additional reviewers as this is the critical fuel that makes a journal successful. As journal or section editors, we recognize that reviewers are perhaps more critical than authors and much more difficult to recruit.
Scientists sometimes forget that they exist within a closed cycle system. They are funded to carry out research, which they must publish, to hopefully obtain tenure and additional funding with which they are funded to carry out research….and while most scientists see reviewing grant proposals as a duty and honor and rarely refuse, many neglect to see reviewing journal submissions in the same light. Without a continuous stream of reviewers and reviews, your submission can be significantly delayed in the first step of write–revise–publish, and negatively impact tenure and promotion decisions and supporting material for grant submissions. Perhaps this has even contributed to the incredible increase in the number of predatory journals because of the ability to exchange paying unwarranted page charges for rapid, but poorly regulated publication.
“I am writing to invite you to serve to review the manuscript: “SOX 2, a new genomic marker in patients presenting with (ICD10) S10.87XA where BRCA1 status provides guidance for treatment?” (contrafaco)…
“It’s not my area of expertise”….
Potential solution There should be a “checklist” provided to and completed by the author upon submission that goes beyond the current general classification being used, and that provides more detail about the methodologies and/or analytics, data source/collection, disease/condition being studied, public/private healthcare/population environment, etc. A similar checklist, to be completed by potential reviewers, and that should definitely include any and all authors who have published in that journal, could be used to better evaluate and match manuscript to reviewer. General categorizations, e.g. “cardiovascular”, do not adequately address this issue.
“I am busy…I don’t have time”
And if you are “on vacation” or “travel”, it is also appropriate to suggest when you might be able to return the review, even if after the proposed date, so that the editor can respond accordingly.
‘Invited but no response”
We welcome your response and thoughts…and even more importantly, your potential interest in joining the group of active reviewers who help to advance the science in a responsible and quality manner.
Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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