There seems to be a growing trend in society – one that is quite heartwarming amidst other news – for people to use the gifts and rewards of their own lives to “pay it forward” for the success and advantage of others – even strangers. Perhaps you have been the recipient of one of these acts of kindness at a local drive-thru where the person in front of you paid for your order. Or maybe you have had someone in your life take extra time to encourage and teach you – selflessly helping you pursue your dreams and goals.
Serving as manuscript peer reviewer is an important, critical professional activity, yet most peer reviewers do not receive any mentoring…
Academic presses invest a lot of effort in the peer review process. While most academics understand the process — either from personal experience or tales shared at conferences — less understood is how editors and publishers view peer review.
“The primary reason for peer reviewing manuscripts is to reinforce the publisher’s reputation as serious and professional,” said Jessica Gribble, an acquisitions editor at Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Individual editors also value peer review, she said: “We can’t be experts in every subject we acquire, so we rely on reviews to help us know whether the content of the manuscript is high quality.” Another goal of the peer review process is to confirm what the press believes to be the market for the book. “We’re getting both a content analysis and a market analysis,” said Gribble.
Rather than seeing the peer review process as negative, veteran academic authors William Stallings and Francine McKenzie encourage authors to see it as a valuable opportunity to improve their work.
McKenzie, an associate professor at the University of Western Ontario, said authors should see peer reviews as part of a process of improving a piece and one’s writing skills in general. “Think of peer review as more an intellectual exchange than a judgment,” she said. “With this mindset, authors can approach peer review with enthusiasm instead of apprehension.”