Prodding tardy reviewers: a randomized comparison of telephone, fax, and e-mail

JAMA. 2002 Jun 5;287(21):2794-5. doi: 10.1001/jama.287.21.2794.


Context: To compare telephone, fax, and e-mail methods of prodding tardy reviewers.

Methods: Randomized trial conducted January 1998 through June 1999 at the main editorial office of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Reviewers who had failed to file reviews by 28 days after being sent manuscripts (7 days after deadline) were sent identical messages in oral (telephone) or written (fax and e-mail) form inquiring as to the status of review, asking for its completion as soon as possible, and requesting it be sent by fax or e-mail.

Results: Of 378 reviewers, proportions returning reviews within 7 days were essentially identical: telephone, 85 (68%) of 125; fax, 86 (67%) of 129; and e-mail, 84 (67%) of 124 (P =.59). In the two thirds who responded, the mean time to return reviews did not differ among the 3 groups.

Conclusion: Contacting tardy reviewers resulted in a review being received within 7 days in about two thirds of cases, and it made no difference if the contact was made by telephone, fax, or e-mail.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Computer Communication Networks*
  • Manuscripts, Medical as Topic
  • Peer Review, Research / methods*
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Random Allocation
  • Telefacsimile*
  • Telephone*