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For Michael Callaghan, reviewing the work of his peers is more of an honour and privilege than a chore.
That positive attitude has now paid off with the Deakin University Warrnambool Campus academic earning an international award for his reviews.
Mr Callaghan has been named as an Outstanding Reviewer at the Emerald Literati Network 2012 Awards for Excellence for his work with the European Business Review.
The award is a significant honour as only one reviewer per journal is chosen each year. Mr Callaghan's success is even more notable when it is considered that few non-PhD holders are invited to undertake such reviews.
Mr Callaghan, who has a successful publication record in his own right, is working toward a PhD by Prior Publication, which will also be the first of its type awarded by Deakin. He said that while academics are obliged to participate in the peer review process when asked, he feels it is privilege and exciting to review unpublished work.
Mr Callaghan, a lecturer in marketing in the Faculty of Business and Law in Warrnambool, describes the review process as a "quality control mechanism".
The majority of reviews are "double blind", meaning the identities of reviewers are confidential and known only to the journal editor. "The process is designed to ensure what is published in a journal is a substantive and a genuine contribution to the literature," he said. "The generally anonymous nature of reviewing for journals makes public acknowledgement, such as this award, a humbling and unexpected surprise."
"I think a good reviewer provides constructive feedback to help authors bring their submission up to a level acceptable for publication, or identifies a more appropriate outlet for publication," he said.
"You need to keep in mind the feelings of the individual. You want to encourage a better piece of work, not break their spirit. About 50 per cent of papers are rejected first time, and only 25 per cent make it to publication, so it is important to be constructive in criticism."
"Personally I always feel it is a big honour to be asked to undertake a review. To be published in a journal is a big deal for those involved and it is rewarding to be part of that process."
Mr Callaghan takes the job seriously and says "there is usually new and interesting work to review every month".
"I tend to over-compensate a bit to make sure I do the job well, and I always make myself available to review when needed," he said.
He will receive a framed certificate and his achievement will be recognised on the Emerald Literati Network website.
The citation for the award notes Mr Callaghan's "very impressive and significant contribution" made as a reviewer for the publication.