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Thank you to all Thorax reviewers
  1. J A Wedzicha, Editor in Chief,
  2. S L Johnston, Editor,
  3. D M Mitchell, Editor
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor J A Wedzicha
    Thorax Editorial Office, 17 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2PL, UK; j.a.wedzichaqmul.ac.uk

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Acknowledgement of the contribution of peer reviewers to the success of Thorax

Thorax had a very successful year in 2003 with an increase in submissions and an impact factor which now stands at 4.08.1 The invaluable resource of our dedicated peer reviewers has allowed Thorax to maintain its high standards.2–4 Peer review has been used in journals for over 300 years5 and is an important part of the editorial process, as constructive criticism during the peer review process leads to improvements in the final published paper.6

In this issue of Thorax we publish the names of all the peer reviewers who have reviewed papers for the journal over the past year (see page 86). We would like to thank all our reviewers from all over the world who have signed up on our online submission site for availability for peer review and who have so generously given up their valuable time to improve the quality of papers in Thorax. We are very grateful to all those reviewers who have written such critical and thoughtful reviews and returned them on time.

The availability of the online system has allowed a faster peer review process, and we hope that this has made it easier for our reviewers to access the papers and submit the reviews. During peer review we maintain strict confidentiality with respect to the identity of our reviewers. At the time of the decision, the online site enables reviewers to view the other reviews on the paper, although even at that stage they do not know the identity of these other reviewers. In order to improve the statistical aspects of our papers, all potentially acceptable manuscripts also undergo formal statistical review.

We encourage authors when submitting papers to name up to four peer reviewers, although the Editors and Associate Editors use their discretion on reviewer selection and will also use reviewers who have not been suggested by the authors. Reviewers for a particular paper are not aware of whether or not they have been named by the authors. During the year the online system has enabled us to develop a very large database of reviewers with their particular expertise registered. Like all journals, a small minority of invited reviewers persistently decline our invitations to review or never return the review, and we strongly urge them to join their colleagues in this most important scientific effort which we are sure they will find challenging and rewarding.

It is vital for the success of the journal that all our reviewers continue their work, and we would also like to encourage younger reviewers to come forward to take part in the process. Please let us know if you are interested. Peer review also has its faults and at some time all of us have received an “unfair review” of our paper from a journal. However, it is still regarded as the best way to assess the originality, validity, importance, and reliability of research work published in a paper. So we ask all our reviewers to continue with their important work and contribute to improving the quality of the scientific papers that we publish in Thorax. Your efforts are ultimately of great benefit to the global respiratory community.

Acknowledgement of the contribution of peer reviewers to the success of Thorax

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