Peer reviewer training and editor support: results from an international survey of nursing peer reviewers

J Prof Nurs. 2009 Mar-Apr;25(2):101-8. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2008.08.007.


Topic: Nursing journals depend on the services of peer reviewers for their expertise in research and clinical practice. Although some research has been done with peer reviewers of biomedical journals, to date, our knowledge about reviewers of nursing journals is minimal.

Methods: In this international survey of 1,675 reviewers for 41 nursing journals, reviewers were asked 69 questions about their experiences reviewing for professional nursing journals. This article examines their answers to the survey questions about training to become reviewers and the support they receive from editors.

Results: Results showed that 65% wanted formal training, although only about 30% received such training in the form of orientation, manuals, practice reviews, or workshops. For most peer reviewers, it took one to five reviews before they felt comfortable with the process, although some commented that, "I still question my reviews" and "It took a few years." In this sample, 31% reported getting feedback from editors about their reviews, but 87% wanted feedback. Most (80%) wanted to see the other reviews of the manuscripts they reviewed, although only about 45% actually saw them. Reviewers reported that the editor had been helpful to them by providing feedback, demonstrating appreciation of their efforts, mentoring, and being available.

Conclusions: We concluded from this research that many reviewers' needs for training and support are not being met and that both reviewers and nursing editors could profit from a better understanding of the process. Editors could consider instituting programs of orientation, training, and support such as feedback on reviews, making other reviews available, and feedback on final disposition of manuscripts. Reviewers should consider discussing these issues with editors to make their needs for feedback and training known. Intervention studies to examine the effects of such programs on reviewer satisfaction could ultimately strengthen the nursing literature.

MeSH terms

  • Nursing*
  • Peer Review, Health Care*