We can thank all reviewers but we aren’t allowed to thank you individually!

One of the golden rules of gratefulness is to be personal and specific. Not ‘you all did a great job’, but ‘thanks Babette, I know you edited 44 zombie nouns from that paper and gave it a much more engaging title’. The authors have just written back to thank BJSM. Fringe benefit: video link if you are not sure what a zombie noun is and why it kills your writing.

BJSM’s peer reviewers do a wonderful job. You agree to review authors’ submissions at twice the average rate for a leading medical journal. Your average turn-around time is less than two weeks and you add tremendous value for authors and editors in a very civil, respectful manner. Right now the European privacy legislation stops us from sending an email to each reviewer to say thanks as it would be considered spam. So can the 4 editors of BJSM, Professors Babette Pluim, Kay Crossley, Emmanuel Stamatakis and Karim Khan, please say a big wide thank you instead?

The plan for 2019 is for the 4 editors to consider all papers submitted to BJSM. The top 20% get sent for review. The other 80% are rejected and the authors of the top half of those papers are invited to submit to BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine. (Open Access journal with author processing charges (APCs).

For BJSM, the editors balance papers related to injuries (concussion, shoulder, knee, etc.) with sports (how much room can we devote to fencing? How much football is too much?) and cross-cutting issues such as return to sport. Sports injury prevention is a focus area and we thank the International Olympic Committee for supporting 4 issues of BJSM annually on this topic. We are fortunate that Professor Lars Engebretsen is the Editor who handles those issues. BJSM Deputy Editor and former Olympic rower, Dr Jane Thornton (MD, PhD) adds great expertise in that domain.

The medicine of exercise (e.g. sports cardiology, physical activity for health) is a popular part of BJSM. And as we define ‘sport and exercise medicine’ broadly, we are happy to publish a very unbiased set of paper dealing with health issues such as healthy nutrition. We do not receive funding from food/supplement corporations or dodgy ‘foundations’.

Peer reviewers outline the relative merits and weaknesses of papers and suggest ways for the paper to be improved. Readers and editors appreciate that. Peer review informs the final decision. Does this paper sit in the top 6-8% of papers we have considered? If yes, one of the 4 editors takes a final very careful look. She or he usually invites the authors to ‘fine tune’ in keeping with both the high bar our readers expect and the BJSM style. (Concise, active voice, short introduction of less than 350 words, etc.). The BJSM appoach to writing is captured in New Zealand Professor Helen Sword’s wonderful book Stylish Academic Writing‘. If you have a better writing guide we are open to suggestions.  

In summary, we thank every BJSM (and BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine) reviewer. You have clearly added value for our community by helping identify the better papers and by making the better best.

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