Nearing the end of my PhD dissertation, I was ready to submit my first paper from that process. I had published before, and whilst the PhD was fun, it was a long haul, and I was keen to get some work out there. I chose the Journal of Ecology for a big chapter. It was reviewed very quickly, fairly, and the reviews made the paper much better. Journal of Ecology was also the first journal that I reviewed for. I did the review on time and then asked to be provided with feedback including the outcome of the manuscript. The handling editor at the time gave me feedback. I thought wow, this is amazing. This journal had my loyalty forever, particularly as a referee. I had a similar experience with Oikos early on too. I had read some neat papers and found them both enjoyable and useful. I did a few reviews and the handling editor, Linus, was super kind and funny. Sold. I was treated with respect and they get mine – in addition to whatever I can do to help promote novel ecology.
With the adoption of online systems to handle papers, I hope that we can still maintain the personal aspect. It is useful to chat with the editors that handle our work because it calibrates our capacity to self-assess scientific merit. Also, it is nice to have a personal communication as it provides an indication of whether they are being fair. I always assume the best in this respect, but the odd email reassuring me that they are human and appreciate how tiring the peer review process can be gives hope.