This has been a successful year for the Journal of Swine Health and Production (JSHAP). It feels like just yesterday I was writing my Welcome 20141 message, and now here I am sitting writing my message for the final issue of 2014. My mother warned me that as I got older time would seem to go by faster – and she was correct – again! In the November-December issue, JSHAP publishes a list of the reviewers who have graciously reviewed manuscripts for the journal. This year the list is composed of 87 names of reviewers and editorial board members who have reviewed manuscripts. I ask everyone to have a look at that list and recognize those individuals. I would like to personally thank all of the 2013-2014 reviewers and editorial board members for their hard work and contributions to the journal and our successful year.
In a previous message, I described the peer-review process for a manuscript submission with JSHAP. If you have not read that message yet I encourage you to read it.2 What I didn’t mention in that message in great detail was how much work the review process is for the reviewers specifically. JSHAP asks a reviewer to return a manuscript to the office within 3 weeks of accepting it. This is to help JSHAP keep the review process moving along in a timely manner. Any revisions requested of the author will need to be re-reviewed and so typically a reviewer will need to re-evaluate these revisions, perhaps 8 weeks after seeing the manuscript for the first time. This timeline depends on how long it takes for an author to respond to any queries raised. And so the commitment to review a manuscript can span a few months. What I am trying to say is that a reviewer may see a manuscript anywhere from one to three times before their work is done. This requires a considerable time commitment on behalf of the reviewer, and I feel it is often an overlooked and perhaps under-appreciated job. I myself have been guilty of grumbling in the office lunch room about certain comments a reviewer may have provided on my own work submitted to journals over the years. What you don’t know, however, is who that reviewer is. I was in a situation once where an author was discussing (AKA, complaining about) a reviewer, and about half way through the conversation I realized that I was that reviewer. I fear my face may have gone beet red and given away my secret. I had spent a great deal of time crafting thoughtful comments that I felt were fair, courteous, and helpful. At the time, I was a new reviewer and I felt terrible that the author was so upset. Now I really aspire to not grumble about my own reviews, as I have an even greater appreciation as to how much work they are and how important they are for the development of our body of scientific knowledge.
It never ceases to amaze me how willing the scientific community and our AASV membership are to help with the review process. In this time of busy schedules and increased work demands on everyone, everywhere, I recognize it is often difficult to take on additional work (I hope you can now appreciate that reviewing a paper thoroughly is a ton of work). Our journal manuscript submissions have been very healthy this year. At the time of writing this message, we have already surpassed our 2012-2013 count for manuscript submissions and we still have many weeks left in the year to go. While this is terrific for on-going contributions to the scientific literature, it does make recruiting reviewers challenging. And so, once again, thank you to those who take on extra work in this era of busy schedules.
One more item of good news in the continued development of the journal is the increase in our impact factor this year. I have mentioned in a previous message how impact factors are determined and what they represent.3 I don’t like to dwell on impact factors too much, but I would like to recognize that JSHAP has had a nice increase in our impact factor, the highest recorded in several years, and this is attributed to all the hard work of our reviewers, authors, and staff. Thank you all for your contributions to a successful 2014 for JSHAP!
1. O’Sullivan T. Welcome 2014 [editorial]. J Swine Health Prod. 2014;22:9.
2. O’Sullivan T. The peer-review process [editorial]. J Swine Health Prod. 2013;21:299.
3. O’Sullivan T. Impact! [editorial]. J Swine Health Prod. 2013;21:239.
-- Terri O’Sullivan, DVM, PhD Executive Editor