1. Dougherty, Molly C. RN, PhD, Editor

Article Content

One year after the Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) conference on the theme "Translational Research for Quality Outcomes: Affecting Practice and Healthcare Quality," you have in your hands a supplement to Nursing Research containing articles based on presentations at the conference. How this happened illustrates the value of peer review.


The first level of peer review for presentation at the 2005 ENRS conference was by the ENRS abstract review and selection committee. As chairperson of the committee, Dr. Suzanne Bakken knew which abstracts were highly scored and fit the theme of the conference. Ahead of the ENRS conference, guest editors (Drs. Suzanne Bakken and Dorothy Jones) identified abstracts on the program suitable for inclusion in the supplement and contacted the authors. As experienced editors, they anticipated that some presenters invited to submit a manuscript may not choose to participate, and they were pleasantly surprised that all who agreed submitted a manuscript in a timely way. Preselection by the guest editors was a form of peer review.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) conference grant (n.d.) was awarded to Dr. Elaine Larson (Columbia University). Based on review by an interdisciplinary group of experts in the field, the award demonstrated the relevance of the conference theme and the potential scientific contributions of the supplement. These foundational steps in advance of the conference integrated peer review in the process.


The editorial process in developing the supplement was to have each manuscript peer reviewed by one reviewer from the regular Nursing Research panel of reviewers and one from a set of reviewers with pertinent expertise identified by the guest editors. In addition, the guest editors and editor of the journal, Mickey Dougherty (MD), read the manuscripts and wrote comments for the authors. Each guest editor took the lead on specific manuscripts because of potential conflicts of interest (e.g., working at the same institution as author, manuscript coauthor, or collaborator on a project presented in a manuscript).


The initial reviews on many of the manuscripts were only modestly enthusiastic, but the guest editors saw promise in these manuscripts. The guest editors had confidence in the authors, and the editor (MD) had confidence in the guest editors' expertise and experience. A portion of the open peer review feature of the Web site ( is dedicated to manuscripts in the supplement. The original manuscript submitted, peer review materials, and correspondences with the author are posted. You may read the published article along with the original submission and observe what recommendations were made by the reviewers and editors, and the authors' response to the recommendations.


The value of preselection by guest editors before invitation to submit became evident after the first resubmission. The ability of authors to incorporate the recommended changes was dramatic. After the first resubmission, other changes recommended by the reviewers and editors were readily made on most of the manuscripts. Nevertheless, a few manuscripts were sent back to the authors multiple times with increasingly specific recommendations from the guest editors. The nearly exclusive use of electronic communication permitted several rounds of communication between a guest editor and an author when needed. The goal for each manuscript was to achieve maximum impact within the bounds of the research presented and the purpose of the supplement. Ultimately, every manuscript submitted met the standard for publication-the same standard as for regular issues of Nursing Research. The manuscripts were rigorously copyedited to focus, shorten, and sharpen the message.


Because of the dedication of the authors originally selected by the guest editors, not only is the supplement a little longer than originally projected, its impact on nursing is destined to be greater. Throughout the process, the contributions of the reviewers and the guest editors illustrated the value of peer review in scientific publishing.


Molly C. Dougherty, RN, PhD






Small Conference Grant. Translational Research for Quality Health (AHRQ. No. 1R13HSO15706-01), E. Larson, PI.