Did you know that September 16-20, 2019 is Peer Review Week? Now in its fifth year, the theme for this year’s celebration is “Quality in Peer Review.”1 This global event celebrates the essential role that peer reviews have in maintaining scientific quality.1 Accordingly, we would like to dedicate this editorial to the indispensable peer reviewers of Advances in Skin & Wound Care.
Peer reviewers are professional authorities and experts on subject matter who assess manuscripts for publication suitability. On average, articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals have 2.7 reviewers.1 This process minimizes the bias that is possible when an individual or a group of authors does not receive any external critique of the work prior to publication. In peer-reviewed journals, up to six experts double-check each article, ensuring quality and minimizing bias for the journal’s interprofessional audience.
Please take some time to read the names of all of our distinguished Editorial Advisory Board members and Peer-Review Panelists, published on the masthead of every issue of the journal. In this issue, we have also included a list of everyone who peer reviewed for us between August 1, 2018 and the end of July 2019. We want to thank each and every person listed and acknowledge their collective willingness and rigorous efforts to enhance the skin and wound care literature. If you are not yet a peer reviewer, and you are interested in joining the Advances team, please see our Call for Peer Reviewers in this issue for more information.
A year ago, we updated and enhanced our peer reviewer instructions. These directives facilitate the peer-review process, recognizing distinct criteria for both scientific and continuing education articles. Although improving our instructions is an ongoing process, we constantly strive to provide the highest level of support possible to our hardworking peer reviewers. For example, we are currently in the process of updating the classifications list we use to match peer reviewers to manuscripts; this will ensure that our peer reviewers receive highly personalized requests to review manuscripts in their specific areas of interest and expertise.
In the last year, we have experienced many changes in our publishing processes. This year to date, Advances has received a record number of manuscripts for consideration. Since our increase in impact factor in 2018, we saw as many manuscript submissions in the first half of 2019 (January 1 through June 30) as were submitted in all of 2018! Our peer reviewers have done an amazing job of keeping up with this pace, providing thoughtful and constructive suggestions to improve the quality and clarity of manuscripts. Not only does this entail reading the first submission of a manuscript, but sometimes the subsequent revisions as well.
On the editorial side, we are committed to publishing as many of these promising manuscripts as promptly as possible. As we have discussed in previous editorials,2,3 we are making full use of available modalities to publish features online ahead of print and include online-only articles in nearly every issue. We believe this is preferable to rejecting quality manuscripts; we hope you agree.
In addition, our authors and readers have requested a faster turnaround from manuscript submission to revision feedback and editor acceptance for publication. Meeting this important challenge has required countless prompt reviews, and we deeply appreciate the time peer reviewers divert from their packed schedules to read manuscripts, helping bring our average time to first decision down to just 22.9 days.
If the heart of a journal is its authors, then peer reviewers are its soul. A hearty thank-you and congratulations to our peer reviewers for a job well done! Your analysis and assessment of manuscripts are greatly appreciated, and, without you, Advances would not be the quality scholarly journal we know and enjoy.
Elizabeth A. Ayello, PhD, RN, CWON, ETN, MAPWCA, FAAN
R. Gary Sibbald, MD, DSc (Hons), MEd, BSc, FRCPC (Med Derm), FAAD, MAPWCA, JM