On January 1, 2017, ASHA journals began implementing a new editorial board peer review model. During the first six months of the year, every ASHA Journal—the American Journal of Audiology, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR), and Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (LSHSS)—was able to significantly reduce the average time to first decision. Collectively, the journals achieved an average reduction of 56% and all are working to achieve consistently an average of 30 days to first decision.

Peer review plays an essential role in maintaining scientific quality. However, it can become a cumbersome and time consuming process if qualified reviewers are not readily available and interested in reviewing.  Within ASHA journals’ new editorial board structure, 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. This eliminated the need for an editor to assemble an ad hoc review panel for each submission.

While improving efficiency, the new structure is designed to also increase the transparency of the rigorous review process for submissions to ASHA’s journals. Editorial board members and ad hoc reviewers are asked to assess the technical soundness of submitted papers using a template outlining the review criteria based on the article type.  By relying on clear criteria and widely adopted reporting frameworks, ASHA journals strive to evaluate content consistently. The criteria used by reviewers to rate submissions are readily available to authors. In addition, the ASHA Journals Academy provides information about the process and timeline, so authors know what to expect at every step in peer review.

ASHA journals’ new editorial board peer review model is significantly shortening the time from submission to first decision and helping to improve the quality and culture of the reviews. Over time, ASHA journals will continue to increase the efficiency and transparency of the peer review process, allowing for an increase in the amount and quality of the clinically applied content published on communication sciences and disorders.

Related Media

ASHA’s New Editorial Board Model:  Dr. Sumit Dhar explains the new structure of ASHA’s editorial board.

Why Serve as a Peer Reviewer?: Dr. Sumit Dhar discusses the benefits of serving as a peer reviewer.

Additional Resources

To learn more about publishing and applying research in Communication Sciences and Disorders, visit the ASHA Journals Academy.

Explore Opportunities to Get Involved With the ASHA Journals.

To learn more about peer review, explore the How-tos & Tutorials, Best Practices & Guidelines, and Research on the Peer Review Week resources page.

View the infographic on improvements to the ASHA Journals peer review process.