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Peer Review Redux

Published on November 4, 2014        Author: 

A word on the continuing crisis in peer review. EJIL is committed to upholding the highest standard of peer review, both as a guarantee of the quality of articles we publish and because we are aware of its importance to authors who are seeking appointment or promotion. As previously explained – see my earlier Editorial, in vol. 23, issue 2– it is increasingly difficult to find external referees who both meet our yardstick of excellence and are willing to give time to this selfless service. I wrote then that it was not infrequently the case that the first and second and even the third external referee to whom we turned would decline our invitation, whilst the unfortunate author, not unreasonably, became incensed at the length of time taken to reach a decision. Since then, we have on occasion had the experience of having six or seven potential reviewers decline before securing one who is willing to take up the task! And then of course more time passes while we wait for the review to be turned around …

These are egregious cases. The vast majority of reviews are, thankfully, completed on time and decisions made on manuscripts within a reasonable timeframe. We are grateful for the sterling services of our reviewers, some of whom we call upon regularly. We now acknowledge them in our annual Roll of Honour (published in the first issue of each volume) and offer them a free one-year online subscription to the Journal as a token of our appreciation. We welcome other suggestions to improve our review procedures while maintaining their integrity. In the meantime, we beg our authors to be patient with the process.

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