Annually, the editors of Tobacco Control honor journal reviewers who have gone “above and beyond” in contributing their expertise toward ensuring the high quality of papers the journal publishes and enhancing the likelihood that even those papers we don’t publish will eventually be improved by their constructive critiques. The role of a good peer reviewer is complex and crucial, and over the years we have come to see more and more how the respectful relationship between reviewers, editors, and authors results in better work overall. Reviewers must not only possess scientific and content knowledge, but for Tobacco Control, they also need to have a sense of how the work informs our global readership and contributes to policy discourse. We receive many submissions that are scientifically okay, but don’t provide the added value of pushing forward the way we think about what we are up to in tobacco control and how best to do it. Reviewers help sort out the merely satisfactory papers from those that can move the field.
The journal is fortunate to have a very dedicated pool of reviewers, and we are happy each year to honor a selection of them for special mention, but each and every reviewer is appreciated for their contributions to the journal and the field.
Our six 2020 Reviewer of the Year Award recipients are below, listed in alphabetical order:
Noel Brewer is a Professor of Health Behavior at University of North Carolina. In addition to regularly accepting review invites, his extensive engagement with a paper that needed multiple revisions to get it across the line is recognized with this award. His reviews are detailed and even witty, commenting on the scientific details and paper structure as well as helping authors clarify the meaning of the paper’s content. He also gets reviews in on time, which both authors and editors value highly.
Guillermo Paraje is an economist and Professor at Adolfo Ibáñez University in Chile. An exceptionally active member of the Tobacco Control editorial advisory board, he accepts many reviewer invitations and readily does re-reviews. Some reviewers are reluctant to look at a paper more than once, but the broad range of disciplines and scientific methods used by Tobacco Control authors mean that we depend upon our specialty reviewers to judge how well authors have addressed critiques.
Jamie Pearce is a Professor in Health Geography at University of Edinburgh who, according to the nominating senior editor, “swithered between reject and major revisions,” and “then wrote the most instructive and comprehensive review that any author could wish for.” He also is a prolific reviewer and accepts review invitations more often than he declines, an editor’s dream.
Ce Shang is a health economist and Assistant Professor in Medical Oncology at the Department of Internal Medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Said the nominating editor: “She accepts every discrete choice experiment that we send her. Papers that use this method (much like modeling studies) depend on niche reviewers with specialized expertise. Our authors and, consequently our readers, benefit from her generous and expert feedback on these complex studies.”
Hai-Yen Sung is Professor of Health Economics at University of California, San Francisco’s Institute for Health and Aging. In addition to the editor’s nomination, her careful reviewing expertise was praised by the author of a complex economics paper she reviewed, who wrote: “Thank you to the reviewer for lending a sharp eye to the manuscript and catching this error.” (How often does that happen?!) The editor also noted that the critique inspired an interesting and long response from the authors, noting: “I learned quite a bit from reading her review and author responses.”
Andrew (Anaru) Waa is a Lecturer in Public Health at University of Otago, New Zealand, where his focus is tobacco control and Māori health promotion. The nominating editor noted that he provides “exceptionally thoughtful” reviews that “do a lovely job of distilling key strengths and weaknesses (and offering suggestions for addressing the latter).” Some reviewers focus almost solely on critique, but a review that also acknowledges a paper’s strengths is more meaningful to authors, who have usually poured so much into their work before submitting. Often, that positive comment helps authors take that deep breath, gain perspective and realise their piece does indeed need more work.