Peer reviewers are essential behind-the-scenes contributors to the quality of manuscripts published in Nursing Research. Peer reviewers in nursing science judge the content of articles and the methods used in research to advise authors about directions for revision (and to complement them on exemplary work) and to advise the editor about selection of articles for publication. The careful attention of peer reviewers to assessment of the potential for each article to contribute to knowledge development, current interest and importance of the topic, and identification of emerging areas along with consideration of research rigor and clinical relevance (Dougherty, Freda, Kearney, Baggs, & Broome, 2011) are significant and fundamental to the advancement of our science.
Peer reviewers at Nursing Research are members of three panels: regular scientific reviewers, quantitative methodologists, and biologists. Members of the scientific review panel are scientists with expertise in a particular area of nursing science who have published their own research in journals comparable to Nursing Research. First authors of articles that we publish are invited to join this panel. The quantitative methodology panel comprises statisticians, psychometricians, data miners, and informaticians with interest in and familiarity with applications in nursing research. The expertise of our methodology colleagues is called up whenever complex, advanced methods are used in a study or when a scientific reviewer requests a quantitative review. Biology reviewers are nurse scientists with special expertise in biological aspects of nursing research or colleagues in related fields such as physiology, genetics, or proteomics. As nursing research evolves in the postgenomic era, our biology reviewers help to ensure accuracy, clarity, and timeliness in reports of these rapidly emerging areas of nursing research. Names of all reviewers from the previous year are published annually in our March/April issue; watch for it, and take the opportunity to thank reviewers for their professional generosity in contributing to Nursing Research and nursing science by serving as a peer reviewer.
At Nursing Research, the important work of our peer reviewers is showcased all year long in the Open Manuscript Review (OMR) section of our homepage (see the red button at http://journals.lww.com/nursingresearchonline/pages/default.aspx). With full permission of authors of selected articles, the peer review process is opened: the original manuscript, reviews, revision letters, author responses, and acceptance letters are all posted. This feature allows you to read the peer review documents, examine how manuscripts are revised based on them, and understand how the Editorial Office interfaces with authors and peer reviewers. Editorial Board member Dr. Judith Vessey reviewed and reconstructed the structure of our OMR page by organizing materials into recent articles; broad, clinically focused or especially useful for teaching research critique; methodologies; scientific integrity; and additional exemplary illustrations of the peer review process in action. Dr. Vessey’s OMR quality improvement work is much appreciated! We’ll follow up by continuing to post exemplars (with permission of authors). We hope you will visit the Web site and use the information to gain insight into the peer review process, appreciate the outstanding behind-the-scenes contributions of Nursing Research peer reviewers, and use the materials to enhance research instruction for your students.
To peer reviewers, whose contributions are utterly invaluable, hats off! Cheers to peer reviewers! Hats off!
Susan J. Henly, PhD, RN
Dougherty M. C., Freda M. C., Kearney M. H., Baggs J. G., Broome M. (2011). Online survey of nursing journal peer reviewers: Indicators of quality in manuscripts. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 33, 506–521.