Peer review in respiratory journals
All editors strive to have the highest-quality papers in their journals. It is not possible for journal editors and their editorial teams (which may comprise deputy editors and associate editors) to have the knowledge to deal with all respiratory topics and thus utilising peer reviewers is important. Peer review has been in used in journals for over 300 years and is an important part of the editorial process, as constructive criticism during peer review leads to improvements in the final published paper and ensures that only the best papers are published.
Peer review plays a role in determining whether the research work is original, the stated objectives are achieved and the results plausible. However, the final decision as to whether a paper is suitable for publication and whether it will be of interest to its readers always rests with the editorial team. Authors may challenge peer-review comments or an editorial decision of rejection but review and reversal of any decision should only take place if a genuine mistake has been made in the peer-review process.
As with authors, peer reviewers should also declare any potential competing interests. Increasing work commitments may mean that some reviewers have to decline invitations to review or may never return their review.
The increasing complexity of submissions has led to a need for expert statistical review in some cases and drawing on the experience of a peer reviewer with such experience is incredibly useful.