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.