The ASHA journals have an 80-year strong tradition of excellence in publishing research. Becoming a reviewer for these journals demonstrates an important commitment to the development and application of research in the speech, language, and hearing sciences.
Before getting into the specific steps of becoming a reviewer, it is essential to know some background on what reviewers do for our journals, as well as the eligibility requirements and expectations for them.
The Peer Review Process
All manuscripts submitted to ASHA journals are subject to peer review and editing. As of January 1, 2017, manuscripts submitted to 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 at least two reviewers, sometimes three. These reviewers can be all editorial board members (EBMs) or one EBM and one ad hoc reviewer or any combination. Reviewers use the Editorial Manager peer review system (see sidebar for links) to 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. The decision of the editor is final, although there is an appeal process in the event an author believes the rejection was unfounded. (More information about the appeals process is provided in the After a Decision on Your Manuscript section of the Author Resource Center.)
As mentioned above, there are two types of ASHA Journals reviewers:
- Editorial board members (EBMs): This type of reviewer is invited to commit to submit comments for 8 to 10 manuscripts over the course of a year. Individuals serving as EBMs sign an agreement reflecting their commitment and receives an honorarium in appreciation for their participation. Review quality and timeliness of response are conditions of continued service.
- Ad hoc reviewers: This type of reviewer is outside of the journal’s or journal section’s editorial board and volunteers his/her time to submit comments for a single manuscript. The ad hoc reviewer might be invited to submit comments on a subsequent revised manuscript, if the manuscript enters an additional round of review.
The EBMs and ad hoc reviewers are recruited from the various disciplines related to communication sciences and disorders for their relevant expertise. General qualifications include special expertise or advanced knowledge of the subject matter, a strong publication history, an aptitude for critical thinking, an ability to communicate clearly, a penchant for thoroughness and fairness, and a willingness to provide reviews in a timely manner. It is expected that editors will invite as reviewers for a particular manuscript persons who have topic-relevant expertise. Editors are encouraged to invite persons who are likely to be representative of a range of theoretical and/or methodological viewpoints.
Peer review of submissions to ASHA journals is typically single-blind, meaning the reviewers’ identities are withheld from the authors but the reviewers are aware of who wrote the paper they are evaluating. Authors may request a double-blind review in which neither the reviewers nor the authors know each other’s names, but authors’ identities will still be known to the editor-in-chief and editors. 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. Additional information on preparing manuscripts for a double-blind reviews is available in the Author Resource Center.
Advantages of Reviewing for the ASHA Journals
Reviewers for ASHA journals are joining a dedicated group of mission-driven individuals who provide constructive feedback to authors in a collaborative, collegial spirit in order to advance the discipline of communication sciences and disorders. Both editorial board members and ad hoc reviewers are given access to training and resources to help them do the job well. The peer review process for the ASHA journals is intended to be structured, transparent, and straightforward, aligned with best practices and accepted principles of industry standard-setting organizations, such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Council of Science Editors (CSE), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Education, and others.
Why Become a Reviewer
Peer reviewers play a key role in contributing to the quality, the value, and even the reputation of science. In many cases, thoughtful comments provided by reviewers lead to improvements in the presentation of the work in several ways: clarity in writing and descriptions are improved, relevant literature is discussed more thoroughly, limitations of methodology are acknowledged, and broad or over‐reaching conclusions are moderated. This can only happen when knowledgeable reviewers take time to participate in the peer review process and evaluate submissions with care and sensitivity. The editors and reviewers of ASHA journals are committed to utilization of a stringent yet fair review process in order to assist those who submit scholarly work for publication.
On a personal level, reviewers have an opportunity to learn the content and style of scholarly journals, develop a better appreciation of the publishing process, and participate in the type of academic exchange that will benefit their own knowledge base and writing skills. Reviewing is an excellent way to keep up with the literature as well as increase your visibility, credibility, and reputation within the field. In addition, reviewers for the ASHA journals have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the biggest names in their field.
How to Become a Reviewer
Even though each ASHA journal has an editorial board with editorial board members who have committed to serve as reviewers for a minimum number of manuscripts, we are always looking for volunteers to round out the reviewer pool. There are two ways to increase your odds of being asked to serve as a reviewer on a manuscript:
- Keep your Editorial Manager account up to date, and
- Create a reviewer profile in Publons, search for an ASHA journal, then click to notify the editors you are interested in reviewing for this journal.
Making sure the keywords and other information in your Editorial Manager account is up to date makes your name more likely to appear in a search and ensures you receive an invitation to serve at the correct e-mail address. In addition, establishing a reviewer profile in Publons and indicating that you are interested in reviewing for a specific journal signals your desire to serve directly to the editors and increases their awareness of your interest to serve.
While we cannot guarantee that you will be asked to serve on a manuscript, rest assured your name will remain in consideration.
To help others get to know you as a scholar, ASHA strongly advises anyone involved in publishing and reviewing research to have an ORCiD identifier. Having an online researcher contributor ID allows you to better manage your scholarly identity and the ID itself is now a key piece of data on which numerous platforms and systems depend. To learn more about ORCiD and how it can help you manage your scholarly identity, please visit the ORCiD section of our Manuscript Submission page.
Editors are encouraged to rate reviewers on timeliness and quality. The timeliness rating is based on whether a review was delayed or not returned after a reviewer agreed to participate. The quality assessment rates whether the review was highly relevant, sufficient, below average, or not returned. Reviewer ratings are neither communicated to the author nor stored in the reviewer’s ASHA account, if applicable. Only editors-in-chief, editors, National Office staff, and Editorial Manager employees can access reviews and rating results.
Ratings in either timeliness or quality that are below our expectations may factor into whether a reviewer receives future invitations to participate in peer review, since it becomes a part of the reviewer’s Editorial Manager account. However, ad hoc reviewers with high ratings may be offered opportunities for additional involvement. These individuals often form the pipeline for editorial board positions.
People serving as editors-in-chief, editors, and editorial board members are formally listed/recognized in the following ways
- Masthead article in each issue (masthead example from LSHSS)
- On the journal’s page in ASHAWire
- On the rosters posted on the ASHA Journals Academy
ASHA journals has also now partnered with Publons to give you official recognition for your contribution to peer review. This partnership means you can opt-in to have your reviews for ASHA journals automatically added to your Publons profile.
What is Publons?
Publons works with reviewers and publishers to give credit for peer review. Publons helps you to record, verify, and showcase your peer review contributions for use in promotion applications. You get recognition even if your reviews are anonymous and the manuscript is never published.
ASHA is committed to ensuring integrity in the peer review process. Publons gives recognition for peer review without compromising reviewer anonymity or infringing upon ASHA journals’ confidentiality policies. By default, the content of reviews for ASHA journals will not be publicly displayed, and only the year of the review and the journal title will be shown on reviewer profiles in Publons.
How the Partnership Works
- When you review for ASHA journals, you will be asked via a question on the review questionnaire if you want to get recognition for it on Publons. If you opt into the Publons service, then data about your review (including your name and the review itself) will be transferred to Publons.
- Once your review is completed you will receive an email with a private link to claim your review
- Follow the link to add your review to your reviewer profile.
You may edit what is displayed for any review within the privacy settings of the participating journal, or opt out of the service at any time.
To learn more, visit Publons’ Benefits for Researchers or, to establish your reviewer profile, create an account now. This service is provided at no cost to you and is in use by nearly 1,000 reviewers across the ASHA journals.