Departments

Ask Athena: Editorials and Peer Review

Ask Athena is Science Editor’s advice column for your most challenging publishing and editing questions. Submit your questions to scienceeditor@councilscienceeditors.org.


Dear Athena,

Should editorials (e.g., opinion columns) undergo peer view? I believe our editor-in-chief’s editorials do not need this step as they are essentially a discussion about the issue’s theme and contents. But we feature a regular editorial by medical residents and occasionally a guest editorial, as well. They are short opinion pieces (500 words or less) about various timely topics in the field and usually include references (fewer than 10). Is there an industry standard/recommendation? 

Thanks so much for your time, wisdom, and guidance!

Perplexed about Peer Review

Dear Perplexed, 

Thank you for asking about the necessity of peer review for editorials. 

As with original research articles and reviews, editorials can only gain from peer review. Reviewers bring added perspective to the content and can identify errors, raise questions, and/or provide feedback that improves the overall quality of the editorial. Depending upon the timing of publication for editorials, reviewer timeliness might be a concern. If the publication timing is especially tight and external peer review isn’t feasible, consider sending the editorial to a couple of your editors who are familiar with this topic and request an expedited review from them. 

Most articles, including editorials, benefit from peer review, and your authors and readers will thank you for taking this extra step.

Always,
Athena

 

Answers to Ask Athena questions are a group effort by members of the CSE Education Committee.