Peer Reviewers: Vital to the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health Publication Process


The Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health (JMWH) has a rigorous peer review process. The contributions of peer reviewers are an essential component of the JMWH publication process, yet the role and responsibilities of reviewers are often not fully understood. This editorial provides an overview of the JMWH peer review process and recognizes the Journal's 2010 peer reviewers.

Peer reviewers assist the editors in identifying the submissions that are appropriate for publication in JMWH. The specific purposes of peer review are to 1) advise the editors whether the manuscript content is important and appropriate for JMWH; 2) evaluate the quality of the manuscript, including adequacy and accuracy of the content; and 3) provide a constructive critique and specific recommendations that can help the author improve the manuscript. To use a clinical analogy, peer review is a quality assurance and improvement program for scholarly journals.

JMWH uses a closed peer review system in which author and reviewer identities are blinded, which is intended to minimize the possibility of biased reviews. The identity of the author is not revealed to the reviewers, and the identity of each reviewer is not revealed to the author or other reviewers. The editor selects reviewers for each manuscript based on the manuscript type and content and reviewers’ expertise, which is partly determined by keywords peer reviewers auto-select to describe their areas of expertise. The goal is to select a combination of reviewers who can view the manuscript from varying perspectives. For example, reviewers for a study would include an individual with expertise in the research methodology used as well as an individual with expertise in the content area.

Peer review for JMWH is conducted via our online manuscript submission and peer review system, ScholarOne Manuscripts. Reviewers are invited via e-mail and have 3 weeks to complete their reviews. After reading the manuscript, reviewers complete an online review form that includes a set of questions about the manuscript, their recommendations for whether or not to accept the manuscript for publication, a narrative review for the author, and any confidential comments for the editors.

After the peer reviewers complete their reviews, the final decision about acceptance versus rejection is made by the editor responsible for the manuscript. The letter that is sent to the author includes copies of the blinded reviews. When the letter is sent to the author, the reviewers receive an e-mail with the comments of the editor and the blinded reviews. This allows each reviewer to see the other reviews and how her or his review was incorporated into the final decision. Reading the editor's and other reviewers’ comments is helpful in improving one's skills as a peer reviewer.

Peer review is a gift to authors and editors. Why do reviewers choose to generously give their time and expertise? Reasons include the opportunity to learn something new, contributing to the profession, upholding the integrity of the profession's journal, and, for those who are authors, reciprocating the courtesy that has been shown to them by reviewers. The editors are always seeking new reviewers. If you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer for JMWH, please e-mail and attach a copy of your curriculum vitae.

In 2010, more than 120 individuals reviewed manuscripts for JMWH. Their names are listed in Box 1. Thank you to all of our JMWH peer reviewers for their invaluable service to our authors, readers, and editors.

Box 1. 2010 Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health Peer Reviewers

Leah Albers

Ivy M. Alexander

Deborah Armbruster

Melissa Avery

Karen Baldwin

Mary K. Barger

Martha Barry

Linda Baxter

Margaret Beal

Cheryl Beck

Kathleen Beebe

Christine Betzold

Kathaleen C. Bloom

Emily A. Bobrow

Sharon Bond

Noelle Borders

Mary Brucker

Catherine Carr

Patricia Caudle

Kim J. Cox

Leslie Cragin

Thamarah Crevecoeur

Jo Anne P. Davis

Katy Dawley

Angela Deneris

Donna Diers

Dawn Durain

Jane Dyer

Janet Engstrom

Jenifer O. Fahey

Cindy Farley

Mary Ann Faucher

Nancy Fleming

Jennifer Foster

Katherine Ferrell Fouquier

Mickey Gillmor-Kahn

Meredith Goff

Barbara Graves

Barbara Hackley

Lisa Christine Hanson

Jennifer Gaye Hensley

Sally Rollow Hersh

Pamela Hill

Patricia Hindin

Jerri Hobdy

Carol L. Howe

Janice Humphreys

Linda Hunter

Cecilia Marie Jevitt

Rima Jolivet

Robin Jordan

Deborah Karsnitz

Gwen Brumbaugh Keeney

Amy Kenefick

Holly Powell Kennedy

Karen King

Jan Kriebs

Cara J. Krulewitch

Nicole Lassiter

Gwen Latendresse

Amy Jo Levi

Aleida Llanes-Oberstein

Lisa Low

Laura Manns-James

Teresa Marchese

Amy Marowitz

Jane Mashburn

Edie McConaughey

Kathleen McKenna

Michelle Megregian

Kathleen Menasche

Dane Menkin

Suellen Miller

Mary Moller

Kathleen Moriarty

Julie Mottl-Santiago

Michelle Munro

Jeanne Murphy

Angela Nannini

Deborah Narrigan

Gina Novick

Katharine O'Dell

Carol C. O'Donoghue

Kathryn M. Osborne

Cara Osborne

Eileen Owen-Williams

Lisa L. Paine

Katherine Parker

Ruth Payton

Debra Penney

Julia Cain Phillippi

Heather Reynolds

Joyce Roberts

Lisa Ross

Mary Ellen Rousseau

Sharon Lynn Ruyak

Jane Sandall

Mavis N. Schorn

Nadine Schuurman

Julia Seng

Rani Theresa Shankar

Maureen Shannon

Jennifer Shaw-Battista

Sara Ellis Simonsen

Kathleen Rice Simpson

Janet Singer

Theresa Ann Sipe

Carol A. Snapp

Anna Maria Speciale

Morghan Stenson

Siana Tackett

Nell Tharpe

Jackie Tillett

Janet Turan

Cindy Urbanc

Catherine Walker

Linda V. Walsh

Ann Weathersby

Deanne Williams

Deborah Woolley

Kynna N. Wright