The Reviewer Recognition Program: Giving back from the ASTRO Journals

By Sue Yom, MD, PhD, MAS, FASTRO, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Radiation Oncology · Biology ·Physics

The gift giving season has just passed, but there’s nothing to say that we can’t continue to give throughout the year. As many of you know, I’ve just become the editor-in-chief (EIC) of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology · Biology · Physics (IJROBP or the Red Journal). It’s a great privilege to be named to this position. One of my first acts as EIC is to announce that the ASTRO journals staff and editors have joined together in an effort to enhance the experience of our associate editors and reviewers. This new initiative, called the Reviewer Recognition Program (RRP), officially began January 1, 2022.

We’re aware that these days, everyone has growing pressures on their time and during COVID, many of us are running on empty. Speaking from my experience, it’s amazing to me that despite this sense of barely making it through, everyone at the Red Journal remains so energized and dedicated. Our editors and reviewers continue to find the best content and provide the best review process possible for our authors. As a result, our journal is thriving.

I hope others share my experience that the Red Journal is (already) rewarding. On those gloomy days when it’s all been too much, it is uplifting to me to see that our community of radiation oncology perseveres. I am in awe of my brilliant, articulate peers who continue to work on science, for this idealistic dream of bettering conditions for patients and our field. I love that the Red Journal is a stimulus for our community to learn, to communicate, to disagree. I am sure the other ASTRO editors-in-chief feel exactly the same. These journals are each a truly unique nexus, and the community they create is so much more than just publishing articles.

The Reviewer Recognition Program will be multifaceted, but the first component rolls out now. Reviewers and Associate Editors are eligible to receive a voucher for a free or reduced Article Processing Charge (APC) after reviewing 12 papers within three years. Here’s how it works. We will provide a Review Recognition Form that can be filled out listing the article numbers and dates of filing corresponding to 12 reviews that have been completed for any of the three ASTRO journals. Associate editors, who at times write extensive reviews of submissions themselves, are eligible to claim an especially detailed set of editorial comments for credit. The claimed reviews must have a reasonable level of quality and timeliness. Reviews of article revisions can be claimed if they demonstrate a reasonable level of additional new effort. The reviewer will submit the Review Voucher Form to the ASTRO editorial office. After verification and approval of the form, it will be redeemable for one voucher code. This voucher can be used as credit towards one-half of the APC for an IJROBP or Practical Radiation Oncology Open Access paper, or for one full APC at Advances in Radiation Oncology.

What’s an APC, you say? An APC is the cost charged to an author for the expenses of publishing an Open Access article. Therefore, at Advances, one APC credit would cover the whole cost of publishing, whereas at IJROBP or PRO it will cover half of the cost of publishing your article as Open Access (should you choose that option for your accepted paper). The voucher can be redeemed by its holder after a paper is accepted, as long as the holder is a named author on the accepted paper. Additionally, we will develop a database called the Preferred Reviewer Program, to which reviewers can subscribe so that they can signal their willingness to review often. To maintain Preferred Reviewer status, participants must accept >75% of invitations and complete their reviews within 14 days. In return, editors will preferentially invite Preferred Reviewers with the goal of completing the RRP requirements within three years.

We hope you’ll agree that the RRP satisfies a number of purposes at once. Most importantly and foremost, it gives our reviewers and associate editors a tangible recognition of their efforts. Greater recognition of our reviewers has been a long-cherished dream and we are thrilled to take this step in the right direction. It also moves us toward greater promotion of Open Access, which is a vehicle for wider public dissemination of radiation oncology research and higher citations of our early-career authors. It makes our journals more attractive as Open Access publishing venues for the best radiation-related research. It promotes the careers of our most dedicated and frequent reviewers. In addition, it provides our editors with a pathway to identify and recognize top reviewers and develop those persons for the future.

We will be rolling out other forms of recognition for editors and reviewers in the future. If you have ideas on this subject, please let me know. On behalf of myself and the other ASTRO journals editors, we look forward to the success of this endeavor and thank all of you for your ongoing support of the ASTRO journals.

Learn more: Reviewer Recognition Program

Posted: January 5, 2022 | with 0 comments
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