Thursday, May 20, 2010

Invitation to become a reviewer for JAIC

The Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (JAIC) strives to provide high quality, meaningful articles representing the accepted standards of practice found in all specialty group categories of the art conservation field. To fulfill this mandate, the manuscripts are selected for publication via a multi-tiered evaluation method that consists of senior editors, associate editors, two peer reviewers, and a copy editor. The system ensures that each submission is read by several people who provide a diverse set of perspectives. While the editor positions are fixed, the peer reviewer slots are open to the entire membership of AIC.

The editorial team of the JAIC invites you, as emerging professionals in the field of conservation to participate in the growth and development of your Journal by becoming a peer reviewer. The process does take time but it can also provide several personal and professional benefits to you, your career, and to the Journal.

Being a reviewer gives you the chance to apply the critical thinking skills developed in your graduate training. As a representative reader of young conservation professionals, you can provide a unique perspective on the appropriateness, readability, completeness, and currency of the articles. Review steps can include:
1. Assessing the relevancy and significance of a paper. Does the background information establish the current status of the topic? Will the paper advance this set of information?
2. Examining the structure and flow of the paper. Is it logical? Does it meet the JAIC format requirements?
3. Determining whether the information is presented in enough detail. Is each step understandable? Can the process be replicated? Is sufficient data present to ensure accuracy?
4. Evaluating whether the study has been placed into context of its benefits or applications to conservation. Did it consider the pros and cons, describe limitations, discuss the affects of various parameters or conditions, and/or specify areas for further study?

A very important aspect of the conservation field is the solicitation and valuation of opinions from our peers. This consultation process is formalized for publication using the peer review system to provide fresh eyes and new insights on each manuscript. Through the anonymous process, the reviewer takes on a mentoring role to help the writer produce a publication with greater depth and more thorough, thoughtful descriptions. In general, JAIC reviewers are extraordinarily conscientious and fair in their assessments of the manuscripts.

Being a reviewer is often a first step to becoming a published author in JAIC. It provides the advantage of learning about the publication process and requirements. It also supplies the alternate, and important, perspective of being on the review side of a manuscript. That aspect can allow you to look at your own writing more objectively. Additionally, once a paper is submitted to the Journal, you have the understanding that the reviews are written with constructive goals in mind.

To be included in our reviewer list, please send a request along with your name, email, and areas of interest and specialties to Brett Rodgers, AIC Communication Manager (brodgers@conservation-us.org). All volunteers are welcome. We just received a cycle of papers on May 1 for which we need reviewers. The other submission cycles are February 1, August 1, and November 1.

Please direct any question regarding JAIC or the peer review process to me.

Michele Derrick
JAIC, editor in chief
mderrick@mfa.org

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