Editorial Policies

Section Policies

Editorial

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Review

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Peer Review Process

Reviewers’ code of ethics

 

Reviewers play an essential role in assisting the editor in the decision on which papers to publish, based upon a rigorous evaluation of their quality. The advice of reviewers is always important, even if the editor’s final decision differs from the reviewers’ recommendation. Authors benefit from the constructive criticism from reviewers and will often make substantial improvements to their papers based upon these comments. Furthermore, reviewers too can benefit from the review process since each reviewer, at the end of the review process, receives the blind comments of all reviewers, so that at times s/he can learn from them. For these reasons, the review process should be taken seriously by all. Reviewers should endeavour to provide timely reviews that are both relevant and constructive. Reviews should be written in English, even in case of non-English manuscripts. Reviewers should contact the editorial office immediately if they have any suspicions of authors’ misconduct.

 

Instructions for reviewers

 

When you receive an invitation to review a submitted manuscript you should be sent a copy of the abstract; this will help you determine whether you wish to review the paper. Please try to respond to invitations promptly as this will prevent unnecessary delays. If you feel that the topic of the paper is outside your area of expertise, or if you do not have the necessary time to review the paper, please let the editor know as soon as possible so that he can contact an alternative reviewer. It is also important to declare any potential conflict of interests.

 

Review score-sheet

Once you have agreed to the review, you will receive the paper and the score-sheet. The score-sheet will assist the way you structure your review. In the paper you receive, all possible references or statements that may disclose the author’s identity will be deleted (the editor will keep the original version of the paper).

It is important that you fill in the score-sheet and also write comments in the space provided. There are two comments sections. The first (Comments to editor) will only be seen by the editor and will not be sent to the author and to the other reviewers; you may use this space to document any issues that you feel is essential to keep secret. The second (Comments to authors) will be seen by authors, reviewers and editor; these comments should be constructive and courteous, and should be as clear possible so that authors can effectively revise their manuscript or, if the decision is a rejection, can be aware of the reasons for this decision. As far as possible, a negative review should explain to the authors the weaknesses of their manuscript, so that authors can understand the basis for the rejection.

You will also be asked to give a recommendation as to whether the paper should be accepted, rejected or revised before a further round of reviews.

 

General Considerations

When reading the paper you should consider the following issues:

- How original is the topic?

- What does it add to the subject area compared with other published material?

- Does the clinical material adequately and convincingly illustrate the thesis put forward by the author?

- Are the conclusions of the paper valid? Does the evidence and the arguments presented in the paper support the conclusions?

- If the authors are disagreeing significantly with the current consensus, do they have a substantial case? If not, what would be required to make their case credible?

- Does the author cite the relevant literature in the respective area? Are there significant omissions from the references?

- If the paper includes tables or figures, what do they add to the paper? Do they aid understanding or are they superfluous?

- Is the paper well written? Is the text clear and easy to read?

- How suitable is the paper for the journal? Does the topic fit within the Aims & Scope of the journal?

- How relevant is the paper to its intended audience?

 

Specific issues

It is often helpful to start the review with a brief overview of the paper. Then you would comment on specific parts of the paper. If you are recommending that the paper needs revision you should state what specific changes you feel need to be made. The authors can then reply to each point in turn.

You should identify:

- Any places where meaning is unclear or ambiguous

- Any factual errors

- Any invalid arguments

You may also wish to consider:

- Does the title properly reflect the subject of the paper?

- Does the abstract provide an accessible summary of the paper?

- Do the keywords accurately reflect the content?

- Is the paper an appropriate length?

 

What is not expected

You are not expected to correct grammatical and/or spelling mistakes or check the accuracy of cited references although, of course, if you become aware of inaccuracies, we would appreciate being alerted to them.

 

Ethical considerations

Reviewers have a responsibility to adhere to ethical standards expected of their role. All information concerning authors and their papers must be treated in the strictest confidence. Reviewers should declare any conflict of interest when responding to invitations, and/or disqualify themselves from review if they feel unable to provide an objective assessment. If they have previously reviewed the same manuscript for another journal, the reviewer should notify the editor immediately.

Reviewers should not:

- Accept invitations to review only to gain access to submitted papers for personal benefit

- Contact any other individual about a paper they are reviewing

- Reproduce information or any part of the manuscript under review in any of their own papers

- Seek to delay the publication of the paper for personal gain

- Use insulting or inflammatory language about the author or his/her paper

- Request that the author cite their papers to increase their own citations

- Contact an author regarding their manuscript, in case the reviewer happens to identify an author

 

Reviewing revised versions

If a manuscript you have reviewed is subsequently revised by the author(s), you will usually be invited to review the revised version. It is very important that you accept these invitations to review revised manuscripts as you will be in he best place to judge the changes made by the author(s). When reviewing a revised manuscript please have two questions in mind:

- Has the author responded adequately to your concerns?

- Is the paper now worthy of publications?

 

- Thanks for your help -

 

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.