The foundation of any well-built structure supports the entire structure. Thus it is with peer review—the basic underpinning of scholarly publication and the scientific method.
For 127 years, the foundation of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery has been our reviewers. Because reviewers provide critical analysis and support our editors’ decision-making for submitted manuscripts, our whole system rests on this important volunteer service. We recognize that it can be a somewhat formidable task: we ask reviewers to respond to a request to evaluate a manuscript within five days and complete the review of an initial submission within fourteen days.
With that in mind, we have decided that it is time to formally recognize the outstanding contributions of our very best reviewers. The “crème de la crème” respond within forty-eight hours after an invitation, complete their reviews within a week, and provide high-quality input into the decision to reject or ask authors to revise a manuscript. Not surprisingly, the highest-quality reviewers are asked to review manuscripts more frequently.
Beginning in January 2016, we will measure reviewer response time, the quality of their reviews, and the number of times that reviewers accept a request to review. Those who rarely decline a request, review a minimum of four manuscripts per year, complete reviews promptly (generally within seven days), and perform highly-graded reviews will be recognized as JBJS “Elite Reviewers.” We will display the names of these Elite Reviewers on the JBJS masthead, provide them with complimentary online access to all four JBJS publications, grant them CME credit for reviews, and waive submission fees for any manuscripts that they submit. Additionally, I will write to the department head, medical school dean, or practice leader of each Elite Reviewer on an annual basis to recognize that reviewer’s contributions.
We hope that this recognition of the best of the best will stimulate all of our reviewers to aspire to meet these standards. Our author community will benefit from our Elite Reviewer program with even higher-quality and more prompt peer review. We expect that the number of Elite Reviewers will expand rapidly and thereby provide greater satisfaction for our reviewers, readers, and authors alike.