Information for Peer Reviewers : AJN The American Journal of Nursing

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Information for Peer Reviewers

​P​eer reviews are extremely important to the editorial process and quality of the journal. A well-done review is also important to guide authors in revising their work. Here are our reviewer guidelines: 

Conflicts of Interest.

Please contact Wilma James ([email protected]​) if you have any conflicts of interest in reviewing a manuscript. We will ask you to destroy the manuscript, and we'll assign it to another reviewer. Conflicts of interest may include:

  • Personal conflict; e.g., a personal relationship with the author or institution that could interfere with you providing an unbiased review. While we try to remove identifying information from the manuscript, you may be able to discern the author's identity in other ways.
  • Financial conflict, or holding a financial interest in a product, company, or organization discussed in the manuscript; e.g., holding stock in a drug company, or consulting with a particular health care organization.
  • Intellectual conflict or holding a strong interest in seeing the manuscript published or not published.

We encourage you to review the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) document on Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. If you are new to reviewing, check COPE's resource, What to Consider When Asked to Peer Review a Manuscript.

Content of the Review.

  • Your review should focus on the content of the manuscript, rather than editing it for grammar or punctuation or rewriting and reorganizing it (we have editors and copy editors who will do that). If there are numerous typos and grammatical errors, or you feel organization is incorrect, it will suffice to just note that; please don't detail each typo or punctuation error or move sentences line by line.
  • We are interested in manuscripts that reflect the 'state of the science' and, importantly, include practical application. Consider if the content is accurate and up to date. Is the topic something that would be of interest to most nurses? Is there anything the author didn't include but should have? Importantly, are implications for nursing care addressed in detail (as opposed to a vague reference to "supportive nursing care")?
  • You may want to check into sources cited by the author that are unfamiliar to you. Are the citations and references appropriate, fairly recent (most within 10 years) and from credible sources? Is the material accurately represented, or is it plagiarized? (We do run all submissions through a plagiarism detection software, but if you notice something, please indicate that.) Authors should be citing primary sources – that is, from the original research article or database.
  • If you recommend that the manuscript be revised, it's important that you provide detailed comments to guide the author on the review form in the comments section. DO NOT PLACE COMMENTS ON A PDF TO SUBMIT. Note what should they do to fix the paper to make it acceptable. Should they add details or additional content, replace sources? If you are recommending that the manuscript be rejected, your narrative should indicate why, but do not spend unnecessary time on a manuscript that is fatally flawed.
  • Please keep in mind that we are requiring feature manuscripts (research, clinical reviews, QI reports) to be no longer than 6,000 words, so if you suggest the author add content, please indicate how the author should better focus the manuscript or where to cut. 
  • Important: If the manuscript you are reviewing is for a column rather than a feature article, be mindful of the limited focus and shorter length requirements. Most columns are about 3,000 words; Viewpoint and Reflections articles are only 750 words. The reviewer form indicates the type of article for which the manuscript is being considered.

Tone of the Review.

Please write your narrative in a nonjudgmental style. Begin with the positives if possible. If you believe the manuscript should be revised, please be encouraging and specific in your comments. Refrain from disparaging, critical remarks that aren't constructive.


PLEASE NOTE: All submitted reviews are confidential and are the property of AJN and may not be submitted for dissemination or publication elsewhere (for example, on peer review tracking sites such as Publons).

Manuscripts should be treated as confidential material. If you want to solicit the expertise of another colleague to review it, please contact me or Diane Szulecki before doing so. Please destroy the manuscript once your review is completed. We recommend that you keep a copy of your review narrative for three months.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

If you are interested in being a reviewer for AJN, please send your resume/CV to [email protected]