Today, in Eos, American Geophysical Union (AGU) Publications again recognizes a number of outstanding reviewers for their work in 2014, as selected by the editors of each journal.
Peer-reviewed literature plays an important role in advancing science. Less well known is the growing use of peer-reviewed literature in our legal systems and governments as a basis for regulations, policies, and laws. This literature also provides reliable scientific information for advisory groups such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Academies.
Quality peer review is thus a critical part of the social contract between science and society. As the uses for this literature have grown, so has the complexity of papers, which now typically include more authors bringing more techniques, data, simulations, and results.
This increase in complexity, in turn, has increased the challenge and role of reviewing. The outstanding reviewers listed here have all provided in-depth evaluations, often over more than one round of revision, that greatly improved the final published papers.
Many Reviewers: A Key Part of AGU Journals
While we note these few outstanding reviewers here, we also acknowledge the broad efforts by the many AGU reviewers in helping ensure the quality, timeliness, and reputation of AGU journals. Overall, AGU received nearly 12,000 submissions and published nearly 6000 manuscripts in 2014. Many of these submissions were reviewed multiple times—in all, representing more than 26,000 reviews in 2014. More than 800 reviewers completed 5 or more reviews, and 87 completed 10 or more.
This has happened in the past year while every AGU journal worked to shorten the time from submission to first decision and publication or maintained already industry-leading standards. Several AGU journals regularly return first decisions within 1 month of submission, and most others do so now within 2 months. Reviewers represent a key part of this improvement.
Editorials (some already published, some upcoming), along with recognition lists, express our appreciation. Our thanks are a small recognition of the large responsibility that reviewers shoulder in improving our science and its role in society.
In addition, we are working to highlight the valuable role of reviewers through events at the Fall Meeting and other meetings (for example, at this year’s European Geophysical Union meeting in Vienna and the Joint Assembly in Montreal).
We are extending subscription benefits to those reviewers who repeatedly provide quality reviews. Each reviewer also receives a discount on AGU and Wiley books. We will work with the Open Researcher and Contributor Identification network (ORCID) to provide official recognition of reviewers’ efforts as soon as this service is up and running, so that reviewers receive formal credit there.
Getting Your Feedback
We are working to improve the peer review process itself, using new online tools. We have designed a short questionnaire for reviewers to provide feedback and will send a link after each review is completed.
We value your feedback, including ideas about how we can recognize your efforts even more, help improve your experience, and increase your input on the science.
We look forward to hearing from you. If you’d like to respond directly, feel free to take our survey.
Once again: Thanks!
—Brooks Hanson, Director, Publications, AGU; email: email@example.com; and Rob van der Hilst, Chair, AGU Publications Committee
Citation: Hanson, B., and R. van der Hilst (2015), Thanks to AGU reviewers, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO029553. Published on 20 May 2015.