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|Year : 2004 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 74-
Peer review process: Backbone of a journal
Jhaveri Microbiology Centre, LV Prasad Eye Institute, LV Prasad Marg, Hyderabad - 500 034, India
Jhaveri Microbiology Centre, LV Prasad Eye Institute, LV Prasad Marg, Hyderabad - 500 034
|How to cite this article:|
Sharma S. Peer review process: Backbone of a journal.Indian J Med Microbiol 2004;22:74-74
|How to cite this URL:|
Sharma S. Peer review process: Backbone of a journal. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2004 [cited 2020 Nov 24 ];22:74-74
Available from: https://www.ijmm.org/text.asp?2004/22/2/74/8075
Peer reviewed journals such as Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology (IJMM) lean heavily on the scientific referees or reviewers who basically decide which articles are published in the journal. This is an important process involving fairness in judgement as much as the expertise in the subject of the articles. The reviewers are expected to judge the scientific validity, relevance, clarity of presentation and potential interest to readers and help the editor (who can not be an expert in all fields) in making decisions. Quite often, the editor faces dissimilar recommendations which need to be integrated into a fair and useful response to the authors. Clear, constructive evaluation along with unambiguous recommendations from the reviewers strengthen the hands of the editor.
The time donated by the reviewers is the most valuable contribution to the well being of a journal which must be appreciated not only by the editor but equally by the authors and the publisher, which in case of IJMM, is the Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists (IAMM). The reviewers' expertise in the subject is as important as the sense of responsibility towards their peers.
What is the best way to handle the drawbacks of a manuscript during peer review, is a question that the reviewers and editors confront during the job. On one hand, a harsh criticism may discourage further research by potentially wonderful authors while on the other hand, incorrect data and irrational data analysis must be rejected. The ultimate duty of the reviewer is to protect patients, students and scientists from incorrect information. The most appropriate is to develop rational bases for recommending either acceptance or rejection of an article. It is not expected from a reviewer to criticize a study just because it does not fit with his/her preconceived notions. However, it is equally irrational to ignore one's prior experience which is based on some evidence. Generally, to be credible, a new evidence or finding, even if preliminary, must supercede the old evidence. Such evidence, even if slightly flawed, need to be accepted until another better evidence emerges. The reviewers are expected to speak softly while wielding a rational whip!
On the other side of the coin are the authors from whom the highest possible level of scientific integrity is expected. The burden on authors includes honest disclosure of conflicts besides ethical considerations and revelations of practical limitations under which the work is carried out. Reviewers and editors must put the most positive colour on the comments returned to the authors and must quote evidence supporting their criticisms.
The category of “Correspondence” in IJMM offers opportunity to the readers for rapid responses to recently published materials. The readers are encouraged to make use of this opportunity and in effect function as a reviewer through letters to the editor. Such letters are probably the last chance to add perspective to conclusions made in the manuscripts that are published in a journal.
Authors and reviewers of IJMM will soon be able to submit/review articles online from our online manuscript processing site http://www.journalonweb.com /ijmm. This online editorial support will have individualized password-protected areas for editor, authors and reviewers with facility for online submission of manuscripts, tracking of editorial process, resubmission, proof checks etc. Introduction of interactive website will herald a significant milestone for IJMM.