As I approach the end of my term as co-editor of the Community Development Journal (CDJ), it seems like an appropriate time to think about the project of academic writing and the conditions under which it occurs. The entire edifice of academic publishing relies on trust; trust that research and writing have been produced in good faith; trust that editors and reviewers deal fairly and respectfully with the work, even as they/we subject it to critical appraisal; trust that journals and publishers are fully committed to the sharing of knowledge and learning; trust that ideas matter and that research illuminates; and trust that production and distribution channels are consistent and reliable. Even if trust is not some inherent quality or function of academic life, it might be hoped that the criss-crossing of identities and roles – whereby the editors are edited, reviewers are reviewed and the cited cite – might inspire and encourage ethical behaviour. The continued existence of the CDJ is partly a reflection of that foundation of trust upon, which academic publishing is built, not least because our authors trust it as a possible home for their work. Doubtless, submission and review processes can be daunting, disappointing and even frustrating for authors, but hopefully, peer reviews that properly emphasize the peer relationship do create conditions under which writers can develop greater confidence or pride in their own voices and arguments.