It goes without saying that the peer review process is essential in ensuring the quality of published work; however, it can be a timely system that can often frustrate authors that are awaiting a decision, while editors face the prospect of delayed publication of their journal. So how can you ensure that work is reviewed in an appropriate time-frame?
Six months ago, Dianne Dixon, Managing Editor of International Journal of Radiation Biology, implemented a new strategy on her journal with the aim to speed up the time between submission to first decision. “For my Journal, we've always had a hard time finding at least two reviewers in a timely fashion,” she told Editor Resources. “This is a small community, so we are not the only radiation journal asking for reviews.”
What Dianne came up with was a timeline for invitations. This was implemented only six months ago, yet this strategy has led to a decrease in the time between submission to first decision by 15 days.
“An invitation is sent to a reviewer (Day 1). I give a count of 4 days and then I send one reminder (Day 4). I wait another 4 days (Day 8), then I remove the reviewer from the list – but I also send them a note to say that we understand they may be unavailable to review at this time, yet we hope they will able to review for our journal in the future.
“What is key, is that I also write: ‘If circumstances have changed and you are available to review this manuscript, please let me know. The abstract is below.’ This often works: people sometimes just forget to respond and a gentle reminder with the abstract gets a few more ‘yes’s than I received beforehand.”
Dianne continues to go through this process until there is a minimum of two reviewers – “and sometimes we get three!”
Do you have any other peer review strategies you would like to share with other editors? Tweet us @tandfeditors