Case study 1: article for Health, Information and Libraries Journal

Catherine Ebenezer is a health services librarian, who as part of an MSc project carried out a usability evaluation of the web site of an NHS trust. Her tutor suggested that she publish an article, and suggested Health, Information and Libraries Journal, published by Blackwells.

The review policy for this journal is as follows:

Two referees will be selected from the database of expertise, and given 14 days to return their comments. Upon receipt of comments the editor will review the paper, and, if the reviews are contradictory, will send to a third reviewer or member of the EAB. Referees are asked to consider the following:


  • Is the title suitably informative?
  • Is an abstract (informative or structured in the case of a research report) included.
  • Is it clear what question the paper is attempting to answer?
  • Are the objectives of the work clearly stated?
    Are the methods clearly described?
  • Are the results concisely presented?
  • Does the author refer to relevant papers in the literature?
  • Is there a discussion of the results and are the implications of any findings carefully presented?
  • Is the bibliography complete and up to date?


  • Does the paper provide anything new, either in the way of evidence or interpretation to what is already known in the field?
  • Does it present ideas of interest or practical use to personnel in the library environment?
  • Does the paper discuss an issue of current concern in the field?
  • Are the arguments sound?
  • Is the experimental data capable of supporting the conclusions drawn?
  • Are there gaps or omissions in the coverage, data, logic, presentation?
  • Is the paper well written and the data clearly presented by means of appropriate tables, graphs, or diagrams?
  • If numeric data or mathematical calculations are included, are these correct?

Catherine duly did the revisions, which were fairly minor, and sent the revised paper to the editor, along with an accompanying email saying what points she had not addressed, and why.

The editor and reviewers were still concerned about the number of references, so they suggested that the 'literature review' section was substantially cut, and that it and the accompanying references put on the web site (thus cutting the references down from 71 to 47). Reference to this web site was made in the text, so that the reader could go there for more information.

The article, 'Usability evaluation of an NHS library web site', was published in Health, Information and Libraries Journal (2003) Vol 20 No 3.

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