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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Facilities, Volume 26, Issue 7/8.
Undoubtedly, the unsung heroes of the academic publishing process are the academic reviewers. This is particularly true of Facilities. Academics give up their time unconditionally and anonymously to craft such reviews. These reviews provide a critical evaluation of a piece of work. They consider the merits of the underlying research as well as the way in which this is conveyed in the paper itself. Reviews invariably offer constructive criticism, providing the authors with direction, ideas and a wider context. For new authors this is an invaluable support in the publishing process. The reviewer is not simply a gatekeeper or critic, but is in many ways an anonymous mentor.
More recently as editor, I have noticed a troubling trend for academics to decline the opportunity to review a paper. Occasionally, assigning reviewers for a single paper may involve the invitation of seven or eight reviewers before obtaining an acceptance to review. One suspects that there may be something of a “fisherman’s dilemma” going on in the background. Busy authors, both established and emerging, may not consider reviewing as being an important part of their job. In the educational context, academics are coming under increasing pressures for output in research assessments and teaching quality assessment. However, for the greater good of the academic profession, institutions’ unwillingness to acknowledge the essential role of the reviewer could be damaging. Facilities management is one such area which historically has struggled to establish an academic foothold. For this reason, the continued involvement of our many well-respected reviewers around the world is indispensable. In recognition of their contribution Facilities does have a prize for best reviewer for each volume. This is in recognition of all the reviewers who continue to support the journal and have in some small part helped to secure a very real foothold among other built environment disciplines.