Guidelines for Reviewers
Purpose of Peer Review
Thank you for the effort and expertise that you contribute to reviewing, without which it would be impossible to maintain the high standards of peer-reviewed journals. Peer review is a critical element of scholarly publication, and one of the major cornerstones of scientific process. Peer Review serves two key functions:
On Being Asked to Review
Does the article you are being asked to review truly match your expertise?
The editor who has approached you may know your work intimately, and may only be aware of your work in a broader context. Only accept an invitation if you are competent to review the article.
Read the editor’s letter carefully and be sure to note any points specific to the manuscript that the editor may have requested your opinion on
Consider whether the topic seems to fit the scope of the journal and is likely to be of sufficient general interest for publication.
Do you have time to review the paper?
Reviewing an article can be quite time consuming. The time taken to review can vary greatly between disciplines and of course on article type, but on average, an article will take about 5 hours to review properly. Will you have sufficient time before the deadline stipulated in the invitation to conduct a thorough review? To avoid unnecessary delays in processing manuscripts, please do the following immediately upon receipt of a manuscript for review:
Double-check the deadline to ensure that there have been no misunderstandings regarding timing, and contact the editorial office immediately if you anticipate any difficulties meeting it, and if possible advise the editor of alternative reviewers.
Are there any potential conflict of interest?
A conflict of interest will not necessarily eliminate you from reviewing an article, but full disclosure to the editor will allow them to make an informed decision. For example; if you work in the same department or institute as one of the authors; if you have worked on a paper previously with an author; or you have a professional or financial connection to the article. There should all be listed when responding to the editor’s invitation for review.
Conducting the Review
Reviewers are kindly requested to consider the originality of the scientific work and to evaluate the scope of the manuscript with respect to the broad readership of the journal. In particular the review form will allow you to provide feedback in the following areas:
Importance of Findings;
Quality of Experiments;
Quality of Language Usage;
Clarity of Presentation;
Remarks to the editor;
Remarks to the Author
The manuscript submission and peer review process can be, at its basic level, broken down into the following 7 steps:
The Author submits a manuscript.
The Editor assigns Reviewers to the manuscript.
The Reviewers review the manuscript.
The Editor makes a first decision.
If necessary, the Author makes revisions and resubmits.
The Editor makes a final decision.
The Staff contacts the Author with the decision.
Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers
Peer review in all its forms plays an important role in ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record. The process depends to a large extent on trust, and requires that everyone involved behaves responsibly and ethically. Peer reviewers play a central and critical part in the peer-review process, but too often come to the role without any guidance and may be unaware of their ethical obligations.
Basic principles to which peer reviewers should adhere
Peer reviewers should: