1. Gould, Kathleen Ahern PhD, RN

Article Content

Peer review week was celebrated on September 19 to 22, 2016. In its second year, this week honors and celebrates the peer review process and the talented people who participle in all areas of scholarly work: publishing, grant review, conference submissions, and scholarship applications.


The idea for the Peer Review Week, first held in 2015, grew out of informal conversations between ORCID, ScienceOpen, PRE (Peer Review Evaluation), Sense About Science, and Wiley, the organizations that planned and launched the initiative in 2015.1 In 2016, more than 20 organizations collaborated to plan a week of activities to highlight this year's theme-Recognition for Review. This group sends a powerful message; that good peer review, whatever shape or form it might take, is critical to scholarly communications.1


Virtual and in-person events included webinars, videos, interviews, and social media activities designed to share opinions, tools, and appreciation for the review process within the scholarly community. Materials include a comprehensive list of online resources to advance our understanding of peer review and its role in 21st century scholarship.


Many resources are available through links provided within the Peer Review Week site. One such resource is from the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), who reminds us that peer review is designed to assess the validity, quality, and often the originality of articles for publication. Its ultimate purpose is to maintain the integrity of science by filtering out invalid or poor quality articles. To support this work, they have articulated the common standard of peer review quality in a publication entitled Best Practices for Peer Review.2


The Peer Review Week Web site also features a list of exceptional resources, a few examples include:


The Wiley online library offers articles and modules, with audio links to personal discussions and blogs. One link provides the ability to listen to an editor's reflections on the peer review process, as Roger Watson, editor-in-chief of Journal of Advanced Nursing, shares his wisdom and suggestions. Other resources guide the reader through the peer review process using a 3-part series presented by experts in this field.2


Elsevier's WebShop helps authors avoid rejection and assist reviewers by providing support to simplify and clarify language. Good reviewers also bring clarity to a manuscript; this site helps them with tools and suggestions they may pass on to authors. Often, authors are experts in the topic yet are not often asked to expand their explanations to emerging professionals or novice practitioners. Reviewers help them deliver a clear message, often to a wider audience. At the WebShop site, Irina Nikitina stresses the importance of clarity. Clarity is critical in scientific writing. An ambiguous sentence can confuse readers at best and lead them onto unfruitful research paths at worst. Poor language can mask otherwise great science, and authors may run the risk of their important work not seeing the light of day because of it. So even though it is challenging, manuscripts have to be written clearly and accurately, in good English.5


Peer Review Week is a timely tribute to the men and women who serve as the backbone for professional publication. Please join us in expressing our continued appreciation and gratitude.




1. Peer Review Week 2016: theme recognition for review. Press Release. Accessed September 26, 2016 [Context Link]


2. Association of American University Presses. AAUP Handbook: Best Practices for Peer Review. New York, NY: Association of American University Presses; 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016. [Context Link]


3. Wiley Online Library. Accessed September 28, 2016.


4. Bowley C. A Guide to Peer Review, Part 1: Why Is Peer Review So Important? Boston, MA: Wiley; 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.


5. Nikitina I. Improving the standard of English can help manuscripts make it through to peer review. Posted January 28, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016. [Context Link]



The idea for the first Peer Review Week, held in 2015, grew out of informal conversations between ORCID, Science Open, PRE (Peer Review Evaluation), Sense About Science, and Wiley, the organizations that planned and launched the initiative in 2015.


In 2016, more than 20 organizations are signed on to the Peer Review Week organizing committee. Coordinating efforts enables us to share widely and powerfully the message that good peer review, whatever shape or form it might take, is critical to scholarly communications.


The AAUP advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. High standards of editorial quality and peer review are one of the primary ways that AAUP members advance that mission. Demonstration of these standards in their publication programs is central to the membership eligibility of nonprofit scholarly publishers and is the very substance of AAUP members' authority to validate and disseminate long-form scholarship.


This handbook of best practices for peer review is offered by AAUP as a resource for member publishers, acquisitions editors both new and experienced, faculty editorial boards, scholarly authors and researchers, and new scholarly publishing programs.