1. Hoyt, K. Sue RN, PhD, FNP, APRN, BC, CEN, FAEN
  2. Proehl, Jean A. RN, MN, CEN, CCRN, FAEN

Article Content

The past 18 months have been replete with new experiences and challenges for us as new editors for a new journal. Launching a journal is no small task, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who has helped us get this far. We will not list names lest we miss someone-not to mention exceed our page quota.


It goes without saying that the authors of the manuscripts do a huge amount of work. Authors are not paid for their work but they are recognized by having their names in print and, sometimes, by being cited as a reference in future articles. Authorship may also factor into one's promotion or tenure status at work. Less visible but immensely important contributions come from those behind the scenes, staff, and volunteers. Volunteers? That's right, volunteers. An essential component in scientific publishing is peer review-work that is performed almost entirely by volunteers.


Peer review is considered essential, the sine qua non for scholarly journals in all scientific disciplines, including nursing and medicine. Peer review helps ensure the quality of published works because experts have reviewed the content and found it worthy of publication. Reviewers may spend hours reviewing a manuscript. They look up references, make suggestions for additional content and necessary clarification, and help correct grammatical errors and clumsy prose. They also assess the quality and design of research studies, the validity of research findings and statistical analysis of the data, and the conclusions made by the investigators. Included in this issue of AENJ is an article describing the process of peer review in greater detail (Hoyt & Proehl, 2007).


Most nursing journals use a double-blind process and conceal the identity of the author and the reviewers at least until after the final publication decision is made (Kearny & Freda, 2005). The value and validity of blinded review is currently under debate for a variety of reasons (Kearny & Freda, 2005), but the fact remains that blinded review is a common practice. Thus, reviewers are not recognized for the important contributions they may have made to a specific manuscript.


Rewarding reviewers has been a topic of recent discussions among editors of nursing and medical journals. The consensus is that reviewers primarily undertake this important work out of a sense of professional duty and a desire to contribute to the scientific knowledge base, not for material rewards. Most journals, AENJ included, publish a list of reviewers' names annually to acknowledge their contributions but few readers will understand the significance of their work. Therefore, we submit this editorial as a more in-depth recognition of the important role that reviewers play. They are truly the unsung heroes of scientific publication. Michael Callaham, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, sums it up nicely: "Carefully done peer review is probably as important to the advancement of science as is authorship itself."


K. Sue Hoyt, RN, PhD, FNP, APRN, BC, CEN, FAEN


Emergency Nurse Practitioner, St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach, CA


Jean A. Proehl, RN, MN, CEN, CCRN, FAEN


Emergency Clinical Nurse Specialist, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH




Hoyt, K. S., & Proehl, J. A. (2007). Peer review for professional publications. Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal, 29(3), 256-260. [Context Link]


Kearny, M. H., & Freda, M. C. (2005). Nurse editors' views on the peer review process. Research in Nursing & Health, 28, 444-452. [Context Link]