Each year, JAMA Ophthalmology will pause to thank our peer reviewers for their essential contribution to the mission of the journal. The mission of JAMA Ophthalmology is to be the indispensable source of ophthalmic knowledge by promptly publishing innovative, clinically relevant research through consistent and authoritative peer review and thereby to be the first choice of authors for their important manuscripts. Embedded within that vision is peer review, 1 of 5 core values of JAMA Ophthalmology, the others being scientific integrity, sensitivity to patient and human subject risks, and a commitment to being ethical and scholarly. However, peer review is the only one that is dependent on experts outside of anyone on the editorial board or anyone else listed on the masthead.
Because peer review is voluntary and dependent in part on the altruistic nature of the reviewer, why even have peer reviewers? The answer lies in the process that JAMA Ophthalmology follows to pursue its mission. To publish promptly (currently, median of 57 days from acceptance to publication) (Table), the senior editors typically review every submission within a week of receipt to determine whether it is likely to meet the priorities of the journal. Those submissions that are judged not to provide substantially new scholarly findings or sufficiently great enough clinical relevance to the general readership of JAMA Ophthalmology based on the objective, methods, and results are rejected (currently, median of 5 days from receipt to rejection). With this approach, the journal is able to tap peer reviewers for their expertise, typically not more than once or twice a year. In that way, the very best peer reviewers are unlikely to perceive an undue burden of numerous reviews while simultaneously receiving articles that have an approximately 50% chance of attaining publication in JAMA Ophthalmology. Occasionally, the peer reviewer’s expertise may suggest to the senior editors that there is minimal novelty or that there are shortcomings to the objective, methods, or results that limit the clinical relevance of the investigation, warranting rejection despite peer review. More often, however, the expertise of the peer reviewer provides feedback to the authors that may be incorporated into a revision, which often results in a stronger submission to be reconsidered by the senior editors for possible acceptance and subsequent publication—a win for readers, reviewers, and authors!
This approach has led to an unprecedented growth for JAMA Ophthalmology. Not only is the process as fast as any other major ophthalmology journal, but the articles (including more randomized clinical trials) are now also viewed online or in print by millions (3.1 million views over the past year, including the top 3 articles1- 3 by tens of thousands of viewers). This, in turn, attracts approximately 2500 news media reports including the articles with the top 3 Altmetric scores.1,4,5 Finally, we have an Impact Factor that is the second highest among its peers and rising rapidly as the name change from Archives of Ophthalmology to JAMA Ophthalmology connects the journal to a parent (JAMA) and a family of 11 other specialty journals that reaches tens of millions of viewers.
It all depends on our peer reviewers and authors, and to them, on behalf of our editorial board and all of the contributors to JAMA Ophthalmology, we offer a sincere and heartfelt thank you as we look toward another successful year for JAMA Ophthalmology.
Corresponding Author: Neil M. Bressler, MD, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 N Wolfe St, Maumenee 7th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21287 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: February 9, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.0024
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: The author has completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none were reported.
Bressler NM. JAMA Ophthalmology Year in Review, 2016. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017;135(3):187-188. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.0024