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Book and Media Reviews
January 30, 2008

Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals: Guidelines for Good Practice

JAMA. 2008;299(4):457-462. doi:10.1001/jama.299.4.457

“Having read your article, I can tell you that we are interested in publishing it. . . . ” So read the letter from the editor of a peer-reviewed scientific journal about a manuscript I had submitted a week earlier. The encouraging comment was made after an “in-house” evaluation. Yet a crucial process remained. Not surprisingly, my manuscript was sent out for peer review. One month later, I received an e-mail from the journal, entitled “decision letter.” I crossed my fingers and said to myself, “That's the acceptance.” But sudden, deep feelings of perplexity and unhappiness arose when I started to read the body of the e-mail. The paper had been turned down on the basis of the reviewers' comments. These feelings worsened when, after asking about the opportunity to revise and resubmit the paper, the editor informed me that, even though they had considered whether to invite resubmission, they had concluded that the reviewers' comments were negative enough “to make the exercise unproductive” and recommended submission of the work elsewhere without delay.