Quality peer review is something that all scholarly publications have strived for since peer review was first introduced more than 300 years ago. By making this topic the theme of the fifth annual Peer Review Week, organizers have invited conversation across journals on the best ways to promote, sustain, and ensure the highest caliber of all incoming peer reviews.
Although the ASHA Journals have offered tools and guides in the past, the ASHA Journals Academy, launched in 2016, finally combined all those resources into one place. This year, we further bolstered the Academy by adding the Peer Review Excellence Program (PREP) Development Modules. These three modules offer important information as about the structure of the ASHA editorial board model, peer review basics, and how to perform a review for the ASHA Journals. An additional module on ethics in peer review is forthcoming. Short knowledge checks keep the learner engaged throughout the process as they learn about performing peer reviews. By offering these modules for certification maintenance hours, the ASHA Journals make it worthwhile for all reviewers (regardless of experience level) to learn the ins and outs of quality peer review.
The ASHA Journals also endorse the use of reporting guidelines by both authors and peer reviewers to help promote the transparency and reproducibility of scientific research. We encourage reviewers to identify the correct reporting guideline for a manuscript from the EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Network’s database of common study types. These guidelines provide minimum types of information that a reviewer must include to ensure that a manuscript can be understood, replicated, used by a clinician, or included in a systematic review. A peer reviewer cannot use the reporting guideline to judge the quality of the methodology used in the study. However, if the author does not report crucial information, then a reviewer cannot properly evaluate the study’s methodological quality.
Another simple, but often overlooked, strategy to promote quality peer review is making sure that the publisher properly recognizes reviewers for their contributions. In single-blind peer review, this can be difficult. However, the ASHA Journals have partnered with Publons to ensure that all reviewers have a verified record of their work for the journals. Instant access to these records can be crucial so that reviewers can include it on their CV or in funding requests. Publons also offers practical peer review training with The Publons Academy.
Join us in celebrating Peer Review Week by taking steps to becoming a peer reviewer for the ASHA Journals! Visit ASHA’s Peer Review Excellence Program (PREP), or submit an expression of interest form.