The Review processes for ANS were established by the journal's founding Editor to minimize the gate-keeping role of the Editor, and to maximize the participation of the editorial review board in making judgments about the worth of manuscripts submitted for consideration.
In April 2005 the ANS Editorial Manager Peer Review Web site was established. All manuscripts are submitted through this web site, and the complete peer review process is conducted using this tool. The processes that govern the process remain as follows:
At the time that a manuscript is received for consideration, the Editor provides an initial review to determine if the manuscript is generally adequate in relation to the purposes of the journal. Manuscripts are rarely rejected by the Editor at this stage. All manuscripts that are prepared by an author known to the Editor are sent to reviewers, as are all manuscripts that contain material that might be construed as subject to the Editor's bias. Therefore, there are instances when reviewers are asked to review manuscripts that seem clearly not suited for publication in order to assure that the author is provided the broadest possible response, and that the ANS audience is assured of minimal editorial interference in the peer review process.
All manuscripts are sent anonymously to three reviewers. Reviewers are selected by the Editor with the following factors taken into consideration:
- At least one reviewer is selected who holds expertise in the content area of the manuscript.
- At least one reviewer is selected who holds expertise in relation to the methodological approach presented in the manuscript.
- At least one reviewer is selected to represent the general readership of ANS; this reviewer is not known to the Editor to have either content or methodological expertise related to the manuscript, but is selected with the intent that the reviewer will judge the adequacy of the manuscript to convey ideas that may not be familiar to an interested ANS reader (eg., a student);
- No reviewer is knowingly selected who may have familiarity with the author. For example, reviewers are not selected who reside in the same geographical area as the author, or who hold faculty positions in an institution where the author has recent affiliation. In some instances, an author's identity may be known to a reviewer because of some connection that is not known to the Editor. In this case reviewers are asked to use their judgment as to whether this would adversely affect their review. If so, reviewers are asked to return the manuscript to the Editor so that another reviewer can be sought.
- Any known preferences of reviewers are taken into account in the selection process. For example, reviewers may indicate a preference to not review manuscripts focused on a particular clinical area, or using particular methods that are unfamiliar to the reviewer. Considerations along this line are intended to provide the maximum quality of review, in that reviewers are sought who are reasonably qualified to judge, and considerate of, the content and methodology of the manuscript.
Reviewers address each of the following criteria:
- Consistent with the purposes of this journal; innovative and important to the advancement of nursing science;
- Relevance to the projected issue topic.
- Concise, logical ordering of ideas; readability.
- Presentation of original ideas, and sound rationale for the ideas.
- Well-founded and accurate content.
- Adequate documentation.
After the results of all three reviews are returned, the exact text of all reviews are sent to the corresponding author. The Editor provides general guidance for the author in making any revisions, and advises the author of rejection, or of eligibility of the manuscript for consideration in the selection process.
At least two of the three reviewers must recommend the manuscript for publication in order for the manuscript to be considered by the Editor at the time of selection. At the time of selection (approximately 10 weeks prior to publication of the issue), the Editor reviews the comments and recommendations of all reviewers of all eligible manuscripts, and makes the selection of the manuscript for each issue with consideration of the following factors:
- Consistency of each manuscript with the issue topic in light of other manuscripts that are eligible for selection, in order to achieve as much diversity and breadth in the issue contents as possible;
- Strength of the reviewers' comments and recommendations, with priority given to those manuscripts that have received the highest commendation;
- Space available to include as many of the eligible manuscripts as possible.
After acceptance, the Editor forwards the manuscript to the publisher for final review with respect to technical details of publishing. After final assessment for technical details, all primary authors are notified of the acceptance of the manuscript for publication.