1. Salcido, Richard "Sal MD"

Article Content

THE PURPOSE OF THIS EDITORIAL is to share with the readership another milestone for Advances in Skin & Wound Care.


This is a peer-reviewed journal. Peer review is recognized as the primary ingredient in maintaining a high level of quality in any journal. 1 It is the accepted benchmark in science, academic scholarship, and overall quality of medical journals.


The individuals who serve as peer reviewers for Advances in Skin & Wound Care are considered thought and content leaders in the skin and wound care field. They are volunteers, freely giving their time and expertise to improve manuscripts submitted to the journal. Without this dedicated group, we simply could not proceed from point A to point B-from manuscript submission to manuscript publication.


Authors, the editor-in-chief, and the editorial staff of the journal rely on these peer reviewers to submit critiques that are meaningful, tactful, and timely and that provide the necessary thought and content to improve the manuscripts under review. The editorial staff steers the overall peer-review process. 2,3 They solicit and track reviews and follow up with peer reviewers to ensure that they meet their deadline commitments.


The Challenge

The most satisfied authors are those whose articles are accepted with little modification and published in a timely manner; after all, who wants to argue with success? These authors tend to focus on the positive outcome, not necessarily the peer-review process. 4


Conversely, authors whose manuscripts are not readily accepted, are rejected outright, or are subjected to requests for revisions are the most dissatisfied. They tend to see the peer-review process as an unfriendly, burdensome, and protracted journey. They are more likely to focus on the "services" or the process aspects 4 of peer review, including their perceptions of the quality and subjective nature of peer review.


I encourage authors to comment on peer reviews. I believe we should begin to think of the peer-review process as a circle in which we evaluate each other-a 360-degree evaluation, 5 if you will.


The challenge, though, is how to characterize and communicate the authors' comments back to the peer reviewers.


Authors are adept at recognizing good work; they know it when they see it. But this is subjective. Most recognized evaluative processes use objective criteria to evaluate an activity.


Evaluating the Evaluators

How, then, do we evaluate the performance of peer reviewers? In other words, who evaluates the evaluators?


The journal's current peer-review form asks peer reviewers to evaluate several aspects of a manuscript, such as scientific accuracy and content, on a 4-point scale. Peer reviewers then give specific comments on how to improve the manuscript, often on a line-by-line basis.


Using this as a model, the editorial staff is currently reengineering the peer-review form and function to allow the customers of the peer-review process-the authors-to evaluate the quality of the peer-review process specific to their manuscript. The evaluation will be sent to reviewers in a reverse-blinded manner.


This evaluative process should enhance the overall quality of the process and give the editorial staff an objective tool to monitor and improve the performance of the peer reviewers.


Reaping the Rewards

The author evaluations will have another use: to help us select the top peer reviewer of the year, who will receive the Outstanding Peer Reviewer Award at the annual Clinical Symposium on Advances in Skin & Wound Care.


The award will honor the peer reviewer who has made the greatest contribution to furthering the goal of peer review-to provide constructive critiques that will assist authors in revising and improving their manuscripts so that they make meaningful contributions to the literature and the wound care field.


The first award will be given during the opening ceremonies of this year's conference. The recipient was selected by the journal's editorial team based on a history of reviews that consistently meet the goal of peer review.


We will announce the winner of this new award in a future issue of the journal.




1. Jefferson T, Wager E, Davidoff F. Measuring the quality of editorial peer review. JAMA 2002; 287:2786-90. [Context Link]


2. Pitkin RM, Burmeister LF. Identifying manuscript reviewers: randomized comparison of asking first or just sending. JAMA 2002; 287:2795-6. [Context Link]


3. Pitkin RM, Burmeister LF. Prodding tardy reviewers: a randomized comparison of telephone, fax, and e-mail. JAMA 2002; 287:2794-5. [Context Link]


4. Weber EJ, Katz PP, Waeckerle JF, Callaham ML. Author perception of peer review: impact of review quality and acceptance on satisfaction. JAMA 2002; 287:2790-3. [Context Link]


5. Musick DW, McDowell SM, Clark N, Salcido R. Pilot study of a 360-degree assessment instrument for physical medicine & rehabilitation residency programs. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2003; 82:394-402. [Context Link]