Editorial

Reviewers needed: apply here

Peer review is an essential task in the professional publishing process. Reviewers provide a vital service to journals and their expert reviews guide the editor when making decisions about what will and will not be published.

Peer review is an essential task in the professional publishing process. Reviewers provide a vital service to journals and their expert reviews guide the editor when making decisions about what will and will not be published.

Journals, such as Nurse Researcher, maintain a database of peer reviewers. They are health professionals with a sound knowledge in research methods who have often written peer-reviewed papers of their own. People with appropriate skills can nominate themselves at any time.

Reviewers are sent papers for review that are in their field of expertise in methodological approach and/or clinical area. Reviewers can make sure the editor sends them appropriate papers by being specific about the areas in which they have a well-developed understanding and practical experience. For example, few reviewers would be experts in both qualitative and quantitative methods, and the specific aspects of expertise, such as survey design or phenomenology, should be identified. Detailed profiles allow the editor to match papers to a reviewer so contact details and areas of expertise should be kept up to date.

The length of time taken to make a decision about a submitted paper is a common cause for complaint among authors

The length of time taken to make a decision about a submitted paper is a common cause for complaint among authors. Reviewers can help by expediting the review process. They can reply promptly, either accepting or refusing to review a paper when an invitation is received. Delays can occur while waiting for a response only to find that the reviewer does not want to review the paper and a new reviewer needs to be found.

Editors appreciate that reviewers will not always have the time to review a paper or they may think its subject matter falls outside their areas of expertise. In such cases, they may recommend someone else for the job. It is also helpful to let the editor know if they are not going to meet the reviewing deadline.

Nurse Researcher always needs new reviewers. Reviewing for a journal is a good opportunity to contribute to professional scholarship and build your research experience. Anyone who has the appropriate skills and is interested in becoming a reviewer should contact the RCNi publishing team (helen.hyland@rcni.com) for further information.

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