Instructions to Reviewers

What is peer-reviewing?

A collaborative process, also known as refereeing, in which the manuscripts submitted to a journal article are commented after being critically evaluated for its concept, novelty, content and contribution to the research, by the research experts in the same field. The critical evaluation is accompanied with constructive feedback from the reviewers so as to improve the manuscript quality. Being a peer reviewer, it is a known fact that criticism does fall under your comments and feedback.

Responsibilities and accountability

A peer reviewer holds responsibility for the critical analysis of a manuscript in their specialty. One should provide honest, constructive, careful, justified and positive feedback to the authors since the peer reviewer’s role is not to criticize, but to enhance the research quality. The peer reviewer must pinpoint the strengths, weaknesses, areas that could be improved, errors and must take responsibility in justifying their feedback without losing patience when authors respond in a negative tone. Being the guardian of the high quality research, the peer reviewer must ensure the trustworthiness and confidentiality of the articles being peer reviewed by them.

Contribution of a peer reviewer to the journal

  • Improving the quality of the paper published thus increasing the research quality
  • Enhancing the journal standards among the publishers
  • Self learning of the updates and the research conducted in their respective fields

 Points to note prior to start the review process (Do’s)

  • Knowledge in the specific area: Are you well versed in the theme in which the research was conducted? If yes, please inform the Editor-in-chief prior to starting the review process.
  • Availability of timing: Have sufficient time to review the article?
  • Conflicts of interest: Do you have any conflict of interest with the article? If yes, please inform the Editor-in-chief prior to starting the review process
  • Originality of the paper: The concept developed by the author(s) need to be original, not published earlier and must be contributing to the research community. If in case, if the paper submitted has a concept which is much similar to an already published paper, cite the same in the report and immediately inform the editor-in-chief
  • Compliance on Plagiarism-free research: The manuscript submitted must be plagiarism-free and if found plagiarism more than 10-15%, then it must be informed to the editor-in-chief prior to starting the review
  • Recommendation to editor-in-chief to reject articles: If the article aims at creating potential danger to mankind or articles that campaign against the welfare of mankind or articles that create hatred or hate speech against gender, country, religion, group, language, caste, practices and faith, such articles to be recommended to editor-in-chief to be rejected
  • Alignment of manuscript theme with journal’s theme: The peer reviewer much check whether the submitted manuscript falls under the major themes listed under the ‘scope of the journal’
  • Contribution of the manuscript to future research in specific area: Any research, submitted as manuscript, must contribute to the specific research arena and ensure the future researchers are guided to investigate further in the specific area
  • Completeness of the manuscript: The peer reviewer must consider whether all the sections are complete or left in the middle prior to starting the review
  • Language: The peer reviewer must ensure the language is of high standards and does not contain absurd errors
  • Formatting and referencing of the manuscript: The peer reviewer must check whether the manuscript is neatly formatted as per the journal instructions and all the references are cited properly

 Points to note, not to be followed in peer reviewing process (Don’ts)

  • Phrases such as “fatal flaws” or “serious mistakes” or “I don’t think this paper has credible work” can be used in a constructive manner such as “major concerns”, “To my opinion, the paper needs to be revamped majorly to refine the conducted research”
  • Personal attacks or any attacks based on gender, country, religion etc. such as “Why you have conducted such study in a country like xxx, that has no xyz?”
  • Showing partiality or forcing the author to implement only the points/content what you suggested and rejecting author’s views
  • Rejecting the author’s counter-comments without any justification or ignoring it
  • Delaying the review process during resubmission, only to degrade the author’s interest
  • Accepting a paper review, only to gain knowledge about the article and reprise it at another place in the name of own. This leads to legal proceedings upon the reviewer
  • Sharing the article’s knowledge or content with colleagues or any other people without informing the editor-in-chief
  • Introducing new and blatant errors to justify the criticism made upon the paper
  • Contacting the author (if in case, the author’s contact details are known) and deviating the guidelines said here, in any manner and in any form 

 How to write the peer review report?

The peer reviewer should note down all the points in a collative manner and submit the same to the editor-in-chief. The report sent to the author must be constructive and justified with evidences in the positive tone without criticism. After completing the report, the peer reviewer must analyze whether the report addresses all the important points mentioned below;

S. No

Component

Description

 1

Article type

(Original article, review article, case study, editorial review etc.,)

Word count

Whether the article meets / exceeds or recedes the word count specification of the journal. If not met, whether the author(s) is suggested to increase/decrease the word count?

Title

Whether the title correctly conveys the essence of the paper and meeting the title word count requirements

Abstract

Whether the abstract is complete and summarizes the entire paper within the said word count

Keywords

Whether the author(s) provided minimum to maximum number of keywords

Introduction

Whether it conveys the background, setting, purpose and objective of the research

Literature review

Whether it is precise, informative, cites only recent articles (not less than five years), presents the research gap and properly developed

Methodology / Materials and Methods

  • Whether listed out each and every component with justification?
  • In case of medical research, whether consent is obtained and ethics committee approved the work

Results

Whether the research results are properly tabulated and illustrated through graphs with correct calculations

10 

Conclusion/Discussion

Whether the manuscript answers the research question(s) and concludes it properly with proper justification

11 

Limitations / Recommendations

Whether the study limitations are provided with recommendations for future studies

12 

Tables, Figures, Images

Whether all the tables, figures, images are properly cited with source, cited in-text, cited with permission etc.,

13 

Plagiarism

Whether the content is plagiarism-free or the plagiarism is within the limits

14 

Conflict of interest

Whether the authors have no conflict of interest

15 

Contribution of authors

Whether the authors’ contributions are present with required information [for example, author x provided concept, author y collected data and author z helped in data analysis (or) all the authors contributed equally]

16 

Acknowledgement and study sponsors

Whether the authors have acknowledged or cited the study sponsors

17

Comments suitable for transmission to the authors

Whether the comments provided inside the paper are clear, suitable and justified

18

Language

Whether the manuscript needed language editing

19

Supplementary Materials

Whether the author need to submit the supplementary materials (such as interview transcripts or data in excel sheet or permission requests) if any during resubmission