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"John M. Carroll" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
John M. Carroll
Mon, 6 Feb 2006 11:07:02 -0500
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Reviewer Merits

We, the undersigned journal editors, hope that you encourage your  
colleagues to participate in the peer review process, and that you  
include reviewing as part of your evaluation of scholarly productivity.

The future of scholarly publication elicits active conversation in  
the academy.  Regardless of the policies and technologies that will  
eventually dominate, the kernel of peer review will surely remain.   
There are some important developments occurring that should be  
recognized by everyone involved in the peer review enterprise.  Most  
publishers are adopting manuscript management systems where authors  
post electronic versions of their papers, editors select reviewers,  
reviewers retrieve and post reviews, and editors make and report  
decisions.  These systems maintain detailed information about the  
entire publication process, including the peer review component.   
This information is the basis for a variety of reports that  
publishers and editors can use to improve work flow and insure high  
quality publications.  A number of issues are emerging related to  
mining these data, insuring integrity, and ownership of reviews,  
however, this note is meant to raise one specific issue and make a  
plea regarding peer reviewing.

Peer review is crucial to scholarly publication, but it is also the  
most time-intensive step.  Reviewers are asked to volunteer their  
time to read and write critical and constructive reviews and this  
takes time.  As creative acts, reviews vary greatly in quality, and  
editors over time come to know reviewers who write thoughtful and  
timely reviews and those who write causal reviews or refuse to review  
at all.  Electronic manuscript systems easily provide time data for  
reviewers and some offer rating scales and note fields for editors to  
evaluate review quality.  Many of us (editors) are beginning to use  
these capabilities and, over time, we will be able to have systematic  
and persistent reviewer quality data.  Graduate students, faculty,  
chairs, and deans should be aware that these data are held.  Our plea  
to everyone is two-fold:

First, please do thoughtful and timely reviews and encourage your  
colleagues to participate in the peer review process. The future of  
scholarly publication depends on this!

Second, please develop and discuss ways to include reviewing as part  
of your scholarly productivity assessments. Help make peer review a  
visible part of the reward structure to both recognize critical  
reviewing as an important scholarly activity as well as bolster its  
role in the publication process.

Gary Marchionini,  Editor-in-Chief, ACM Transactions on Information  

Tefko Saracevic, Editor-in-Chief, Information Processing & Management

Jack Carroll, Editor-in-Chief, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human  

Donald Kraft,  Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Society for  
Information Science and Technology

William Hersh, Josiane Mothe, & Justin Zobel, Editors-in-Chief,   
Information Retrieval

Peter Hernon & Candy Schwartz, Editors-in-Chief, Library &  
Information Science Research

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