I wanted to take a moment to talk about Letters to the Editor and their importance in the peer review process. As you know, original research that we publish in the IUJ undergoes peer review. This ensures that the authors’ science, writing, and conclusions are vetted by colleagues in our field. The feedback nearly always improves the manuscript and advances the science. I personally have benefitted from peer review when a reviewer points out writing that is unclear or mistakes in my analyses. I am not saying that it is not painful. After a long labor of producing a manuscript, revising a manuscript to address reviewer comments requires additional time and effort. I think that most of us are familiar with this aspect of peer review.
Once manuscripts are revised, the editor does one final review and the paper is either accepted and published or declined. After acceptance, once published, peer review is in the hands of the readers. This is where Letters to the Editor, use of social media, and discussion about papers in venues such as journal clubs come in. You may read something that you think is great or has an error that was not captured in the review process. Sharing this feedback can enrich the science and helps others read papers with an educated eye. At the IUJ, we do publish Letters to the Editor. Sometimes the letters are published and the authors of the original article are given the opportunity to respond. This process further enriches the scientific process. Of course, we do not publish unprofessional letters or those which go beyond the measured analysis of science.
I know that members of IUGA are keen to discuss and promote their views and enjoy a good debate. We see it at our meetings and when we gather socially. We have not been quite as active in engaging in this kind of debate through Letters to the Editor in the IUJ. I invite all of us to engage with the journal in this way. Let us know when you disagree with something we publish or love it with further insight. It will make the science better.