Objective: To document the reviewers' responses in terms of reviewers' demographic and professional characteristics, promptness of reply, and duration of reply to the request to review medical research articles for a general biomedical research journal.
Study design: Cross-sectional, observational study.
Place and duration of study: Department of Publications, College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP), from October to December 2015.
Methodology: Peer reviewed articles edited by a single staff editor were included. Editorials and correspondence were excluded. Manuscript category, discipline, and the total number of reviewers per manuscript were noted. Responses were divided into no response, regrets, and responded, i.e. provided with the review comments; and further sub-divided into timely response, i.e. within 21 days, or later. Total duration of response was counted in days from the date of dispatch to the date of receiving. Among those who provided a review, reviewers' characteristics were noted as designation, institute affiliation, qualification, and gender. Number and percentages of the studied variables were determined. Chi-square test of proportions was used for comparing the proportions with significance at p<0.05.
Results: Reviewers for 50 articles including 28 original articles, 15 case reports, three letters to the editor, two short communications, and two new techniques, were evaluated. A total of 598 reviewers were contacted for those 50 articles; forming an average of 11.96 reviewers contacted and 2.2 responded per manuscript. Four hundred and seventy (78.59%) did not reply at all, 18 (3.01%) regretted, and 110 (18.39%) responded (79/110=71.81% timely, and 31/110=28.18% late). Earliest reply was received in one day and the delayed reply in 87 days. Maximum number of reviewers was 24 for a single original article (internal medicine) and 22 for a case report (cardiology). Significantly, more fellows, professors and females (p=0.004, p=0.002, and p=0.017, respectively) provided timely response.
Conclusion: An overwhelming majority of the reviewers did not reply at all despite the incentives of CME credits and honorarium, adversely affecting the processing time. Majority of those who replied, were on time. Reasons for those who did not reply need to be explored.
Publication ( Name of Journal)
Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP
(2019). Reviewers' responses to medical research articles. Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP, 29(1), 29-32.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_radiol/422