Referee Anxiety in Health Researches: A Challenge of Referees

Document Type: Letter to Editor



In addition to the researchers, referees have important roles for publishing a valuable scholarly paper. A scientific work is evaluated in different phases from the beginning till it is published. In each of these phases, unpleasant experiences may happen for researchers and referees. Researchers as the producers of scientific papers experience research anxiety, library anxiety, information seeking anxiety, and referee anxiety. On the other hand, referees experience referees’ anxiety. So it is very important to recognize the effective factors causing anxiety and try to eliminate these problems.As the research area is very broad, all these mentioned concepts are parts of the research process. But one of the most critical stages of research is the review of scientific works particularly in the field of health. “The selection of the referee is the most important decision that the editors make about a scientific work” (1). Referee selection is very important in the area of health because the results of these researches have direct or indirect effects on public health (2).If the facilities are not properly provided for referees, many problems may occur including anxiety referee. Findings of Von Glinow and Novelli showed that there was an unpleasant sense for referees when they feel particular biases from the editor (3).Weller also states that there is an unpleasant sensation if the authors identify their referees (4). Other factors that cause anxiety during the referee process are: receiving several papers to review (5), selecting an inappropriate referee for a paper by the editor (6), lack of clear guidelines and standards of review (4), young and inexperienced referees and inappropriate behavior of journal staff and research centers, lack of scientific knowledge of the referee, and lack of enough ability for the referee to reject the article, all causing unpleasant feelings. In a simple definition, referee anxiety includes any discomfort of referee during reviewing a scientific work. The referee anxiety theme has been extracted from the library anxiety subjects (7-9) but necessary changes were made to cope with the recent matter. Now what factors create referee anxiety?

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