What To Expect In Peer Review


The ASHA Journals Peer Review Model

Starting January 1, 2017, manuscripts submitted to the ASHA journals go through an editorial board peer review model. In this model, an editor-in-chief (EIC) is responsible for assigning each manuscript to an editor who has the appropriate content expertise. The editor assigns typically two to three reviewers who are editorial board members (EBMs) or one EBM and one ad hoc reviewer, or any combination thereof. Reviewers submit lists of strengths and weaknesses in a number of categories appropriate for the type of manuscript as well as any brief additional comments. Upon receipt of reviews, the editor is not expected to provide additional detailed comments. The editor, in a decision letter, instead helps the author identify the most important changes, particularly when EBMs or ad hoc reviewers disagree. An editor would be free to recruit additional reviews, such as for specialized statistics review, as needed.

This is a change from the previous peer review model in which an editor rendered a decision after two to three reviews were submitted to an associate editor, who made a decision recommendation. Also, review comments were not structured.

In 2017, there will be a transition period during which the vast majority of manuscripts originally submitted in 2016 will continue through final decision using the previous peer review model.

ASHA journals typically use single-blind review, which means that the reviewer knows the author’s name, but the authors do not know the reviewers’ identities. Authors may request a double-blind review, in which both the reviewer and author identities are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa, throughout the review process, but identities will still be known to the editor-in-chief and assigned editor. Requests must be made at the time of submission and the author is responsible for removal of identifying information from the manuscript. Reviewers’ identities are not revealed to the author(s) unless reviewers choose to include their names in the review.

To participate in double-blind peer review, please prepare your manuscript in a way that conceals the identities of all the authors and contact the appropriate journal (aja@asha.org, ajslp@asha.org, jslhr@asha.org, or lshss@asha,org) before beginning the online submission process. Please note that editors do not ensure that the authors’ identities are properly masked; that is the responsibility of the authors. The following steps should be taken to ensure the manuscript is correctly prepared for double-blind peer review:

  • When you are submitting your manuscript via the ScholarOne online submission system, the first page that reviewers should see should contain only the title, with no author names or affiliations, acknowledgments, footnotes, or any other information identifying the authors.
  • Place any acknowledgments and all the author information (including details regarding the order authors’ names should appear on the paper in the event of publication), in the cover letter and not in the manuscript.
  • Do not include names or affiliations anywhere in the paper or in any supplemental materials.
  • Check the figures for appearance of any author names or any affiliation-related identifier.
  • Do not include any running headers or footers that would identify authors.
  • Avoid or minimize self-citation. If it is necessary to cite your own work, then refer to your own references in the third person. For example, write “Smith and Jones (2016) have demonstrated,” not “We have previously demonstrated (Smith & Jones, 2016).”
  • Do not include work in the reference list that has not been accepted for publication yet.
  • Remove references to funding sources.
  • Ensure there is no identifying information, including author names, company, and “last saved by” in the file names or metadata of any of the files submitted. Clear any hidden information, including hidden text, revised text, comments, or field codes, that can remain in a document even though you can’t see them. Metadata containing author information is usually added automatically from the identity information on your computer. In many commonly used software programs (e.g., Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader), author information is displayed (and can be edited) in the “File” tab, under “options” or “properties.” You must edit or remove the custom field to remove that information.

Please note: When you submit the final draft of the manuscript for publication, you will need to put back any references to yourself, your institution, grants awarded, and so on.

Key Facts

Number of Journals: 4

Editors-In-Chief: 6

Editors: 40

Editorial Board Members (EBMs): 175

Time from submission to decision: Approximately 4 months


Peer Review Steps and Timeline

Editorial Board Peer Review Model

Original Submission Review

Using the ASHA Journals ScholarOne Manuscripts system, you will upload a properly formatted manuscript and answer a series of disclosure questions (see our guide on Manuscript Submission for more information). The manuscript will then be assigned by the editor-in-chief to an editor with the right subject matter expertise. The editor will typically then assign the manuscript to at least two editorial board members (EBMs) or ad hoc reviewers, or some combination thereof, for reviews. The EBMs or ad hoc reviewers submit comments using a structured peer review template, along with a decision recommendation, to the editor. The editor then reads the reviews in depth, considers the recommendations, and renders a decision.

Editor and EBM Assignment
9 Days
Review Comments Submitted
2 Weeks
Editor Renders First Decision
1 Week
Original Submission Overall
4 Weeks, 2 Days
Author Revision and Submission

If your manuscript requires a revision, as is most typically the case, then you will be given up to 6 weeks to revise and resubmit the manuscript.

Time Given to Author to Revise and Resubmit
6 Weeks
Revised Submission Review

After receiving your revised manuscript, the journal editor will typically then assign at least two EBMs or ad hoc reviewers, or some combination thereof, to review the revised version of the manuscript. The reviewers will submit comments and recommendations, and then the editor will render a revision decision.

EBM Assignment and Review
2 Weeks, 2 Days
Editor Renders Revision Decision
12 Days
Revised Submission Overall
4 Weeks

Second Author Revision and Submission

If your manuscript requires a second revision for acceptance, you will be given up to 3 weeks to submit a revised manuscript.

Time Given to Author to Revise and Resubmit
3 Weeks
Overall Estimated Time From Submission to Decision

Assuming two rounds of review (one round for the original submission and one round for the revised manuscript), time from submission to final decision in the editorial board peer review model can take as little as approximately 4 months. But again, the overall time from submission to final decision of a manuscript depends largely on the number of rounds of review and how long authors take to complete revisions. Authors following submission instructions and submitting revisions that thoroughly address review comments help peer review maintain a swift pace.

Estimated Overall Time From Submission to Decision
4 Months
Please Note:
The above estimates neither guarantee the number of rounds of review a manuscript will receive nor an amount of time to final decision. Instead, the estimates are provided to assist authors timing their submissions.

Previous Peer Review Model

For manuscripts submitted prior to January 1, 2017.

Original Submission Review

Using the ASHA Journals ScholarOne Manuscripts system, you uploaded a properly formatted manuscript and answered a series of disclosure questions (see our guide on Manuscript Submission for more information). The manuscript was then assigned to two reviewers, by way of the journal associate editor. The reviewers submitted comments and a recommendation to the associate editor, and a decision recommendation was then made to the editor.

Editor and Reviewer Assignment
5 weeks
Review and Associate Editor Comments Submitted
6 Weeks
Editor Renders First Decision
3 Weeks
Original Submission Overall
14 Weeks
Author Revision and Submission

If your manuscript required a revision, as was most typically the case, you had up to 6 weeks to revise and resubmit the manuscript.

Time Given to author to revise and resubmit
12 Weeks
Revised Submission Review

After receiving your revised manuscript, the journal associate editor assigned reviewers to review the revised version of the manuscript as needed. The reviewers submitted comments, the associate editor made a recommendation, and then the editor rendered a revision decision.

Reviewer Assignment
2 Weeks
Revised Submission Overall
11 Weeks
Review and Associate Editor Comments Submitted
6 Weeks
Editor Renders Revision Decision
3 Weeks
Second Author Revision and Submission

If your manuscript required a second revision for acceptance, you had up to 12 weeks to submit a revised manuscript.

Time Given to Author to Revise and Ressubmit
12 weeks
Overall Estimated Time From Submission to Decision

Assuming two rounds of review (one round for the original submission and one round for the revised manuscript), time from submission to final decision in the previous review model was up to 12 months. But, again, the overall time from submission to final decision of a manuscript typically depended largely on the number of rounds of review and how long authors would take to complete revisions.

Overall Estimated Time from Revision to Decision
12 Months

Before and After a Decision on Your Manuscript

If Accepted

What’s next?

If your article is accepted, it will begin the journal production process. During the production process, you will be asked to provide some answers to author queries and make some basic revisions, but most of the process will be handled by the ASHA Journals production staff at this point.

Key Facts

Average Acceptance Rate: 52%

Growth in amount published since 2010: 58%

If Rejected

There are a number of reasons a manuscript may be rejected for publication in the ASHA Journals. They can range from the manuscript not being a good fit for the scope and mission of the journal to which it was submitted, to concerns over the overall quality.

Authors may disagree with the decision of the editors of ASHA journals and may wish to challenge and appeal those decisions.

All appeals concerning decisions of an editor are first directed to the editor. In many cases, author-editor disagreements can be resolved directly through discussions between these parties. If no resolution is achieved, the author may file an appeal with the chair of the Journals Board.

The Journals Board chair discusses the disagreement with both parties to determine whether the dispute involves matters of scientific or technical opinion.

If the committee determines that the appeal has merit, the editor is given an opportunity to reconsider the final decision.
If the dispute solely concerns such differing opinions, the appeal is not considered further and the original editorial decision is upheld. The chair then notifies the author and editor of the decision.

If the chair concludes that the issue could be the result of personal bias and/or capriciousness in an editorial decision, the chair then convenes an ad hoc Journals Board Appeals Committee. This committee is made up of two voting members of the Journals Board and the Journals Board chair. This committee is charged with the task of determining whether the author’s appeal has merit. This decision will be determined by majority vote.

If the decision is that there is no merit to the appeal, the chair of the Journals Board notifies the editor and the author of the decision.

If the committee determines that the appeal has merit, the editor is given an opportunity to reconsider the final decision.

If the editor maintains the original decision, the chair of the Journals Board may assign a new guest editor for the manuscript. New editorial board member reviewers would then be solicited and the review process re-initiated.