Context To determine author perception of peer review and association between
quality of review and author satisfaction.
Methods Survey between May 1999 and October 2000 of 897 corresponding authors
of manuscripts under consideration by the Annals of Emergency
Medicine and had received final editorial decisions during the study
period. A total of 576 authors (64%) returned the survey. Using a 5-point
Likert scale, the survey assessed differences in satisfaction between authors
whose manuscripts were accepted, reviewed and rejected, and rejected without
full review. The association of author satisfaction with editor's assessment
of review quality, publication decision, author sex, specialty, and publication
experience were also assessed.
Results Overall mean (SD) satisfaction score, indicated by agreement with "My
experience with the review process will make me more likely to submit to Annals in the future," was 3.1 (1.0) and was significantly
higher among authors of accepted papers (3.7 [0.9]) than among either group
of rejected papers (rejected/reviewed, 2.8 [1.0]; rejected/no review, 3.0
[0.9]; P.05). Authors whose manuscripts were reviewed
and rejected were the least satisfied with the time to decision (rejected/reviewed,
3.0 [1.2] vs accepted, 3.7 [1.0] and rejected/no review, 3.9 [0.9]; P<.05). Those whose papers were rejected without review
were the least satisfied with the letter explaining the editorial decision
(rejected/no review, 2.8 [1.2] vs accepted, 4.2 [0.7] and rejected/reviewed,
3.1 [1.2]; P<.05). Among respondents whose manuscripts
underwent full review (accepted and rejected/reviewed), overall satisfaction
was highly associated with acceptance of the manuscript for publication (odds
ratio [OR], 6.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.43-10.91) but not with quality
rating of reviews (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.84-1.90).
Conclusion Contributor satisfaction with peer review was modest. Authors of rejected
manuscripts were dissatisfied with the time to decision and communication
from the editor. Author satisfaction is associated with acceptance but not
with review quality.