Context: To determine author perception of peer review and association between quality of review and author satisfaction.
Methods: Survey between May 1999 and October 2000 of 897 corresponding authors of manuscripts under consideration by the Annals of Emergency Medicine and had received final editorial decisions during the study period. A total of 576 authors (64%) returned the survey. Using a 5-point Likert scale, the survey assessed differences in satisfaction between authors whose manuscripts were accepted, reviewed and rejected, and rejected without full review. The association of author satisfaction with editor's assessment of review quality, publication decision, author sex, specialty, and publication experience were also assessed.
Results: Overall mean (SD) satisfaction score, indicated by agreement with "My experience with the review process will make me more likely to submit to Annals in the future," was 3.1 (1.0) and was significantly higher among authors of accepted papers (3.7 [0.9]) than among either group of rejected papers (rejected/reviewed, 2.8 [1.0]; rejected/no review, 3.0 [0.9]; P.05). Authors whose manuscripts were reviewed and rejected were the least satisfied with the time to decision (rejected/reviewed, 3.0 [1.2] vs accepted, 3.7 [1.0] and rejected/no review, 3.9 [0.9]; P<.05). Those whose papers were rejected without review were the least satisfied with the letter explaining the editorial decision (rejected/no review, 2.8 [1.2] vs accepted, 4.2 [0.7] and rejected/reviewed, 3.1 [1.2]; P<.05). Among respondents whose manuscripts underwent full review (accepted and rejected/reviewed), overall satisfaction was highly associated with acceptance of the manuscript for publication (odds ratio [OR], 6.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.43-10.91) but not with quality rating of reviews (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.84-1.90).
Conclusion: Contributor satisfaction with peer review was modest. Authors of rejected manuscripts were dissatisfied with the time to decision and communication from the editor. Author satisfaction is associated with acceptance but not with review quality.