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For Reviewers

Peer Review

Peer review is the critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to journals by experts who are usually not part of the editorial staff. Because unbiased, independent, critical assessment is an intrinsic part of all scholarly work, including scientific research. Peer review is an important extension of the scientific process.

The actual value of peer review is widely debated, but the process facilitates a fair hearing for a manuscript among members of the scientific community. More practically, it helps editors decide which manuscripts are suitable for their journals. Peer review often helps authors and editors improve the quality of reporting.

It is the responsibility of the journal to ensure that systems are in place for selection of appropriate reviewers. It is the responsibility of the editor to ensure that reviewers have access to all materials that may be relevant to the evaluation of the manuscript, including supplementary material for online publication, and to ensure that reviewer comments are properly assessed and interpreted in the context of their declared conflicts of interest.

A peer-reviewed journal is under no obligation to send submitted manuscripts for review, and under no obligation to follow reviewer recommendations, favourable or negative. The editor of a journal is ultimately responsible for the selection of all its content, and editorial decisions may be informed by issues unrelated to the quality of a manuscript, such as suitability for the journal. An editor can reject any article at any time before publication, including after acceptance if concerns arise about the integrity of the work.

Journals may differ in the number and kinds of manuscripts they send for review, the number and types of reviewers they seek for each manuscript, whether the review process is open or blinded, and other aspects of the review process. For this reason and as a service to authors, journals should publish a description of their peer-review process.

Journals should notify reviewers of the ultimate decision to accept or reject a paper, and should acknowledge the contribution of peer reviewers to their journal. Editors are encouraged to share reviewers’ comments with co-reviewers of the same paper, so reviewers can learn from each other in the review process.

As part of peer review, editors are encouraged to review research protocols, plans for statistical analysis if separate from the protocol, and/or contracts associated with project-specific studies. Editors should encourage authors to make such documents publicly available at the time of or after publication, before accepting such studies for publication. Some journals may require public posting of these documents as a condition of acceptance for publication.

Journal requirements for independent data analysis and for public data availability are in flux at the time of this revision, reflecting evolving views of the importance of data availability for pre- and post-publication peer review. Some journal editors currently request a statistical analysis of trial data by an independent biostatistician before accepting studies for publication. Others ask authors to say whether the study data are available to third parties to view and/or use/reanalyze, while still others encourage or require authors to share their data with others for review or reanalysis. Each journal should establish and publish their specific requirements for data analysis and posting in a place which potential authors can easily access.

Some people believe that true scientific peer review begins only on the date a paper is published. In that spirit, medical journals should have a mechanism for readers to submit comments, questions, or criticisms about published article, and authors have a responsibility to respond appropriately and cooperate with any requests from the journal for data or additional information should questions about the paper arise after publication.

Reviewer Guidelines

COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers

The reviewers should

  • only agree to review manuscripts for which they have the subject expertise required to carry out a proper assessment and which they can assess in a timely manner
  • respect the confidentiality of peer review and not reveal any details of manuscript or its peer review, during or after the peer-review process, beyond those that are released by the journal
  • not use information obtained during the peer-review process for their own or any other person’s or organisation’s advantage
  • declare all potential conflicts interests
  • not allow their reviews to be influenced by the origins of a manuscript, by the nationality, religions or politics belongs, gender or other characteristics of authors, or by commercial consideration
  • be objective and constructive in their reviews
  • acknowledge that peer-review is largely reciprocal endeavour and undertake to carry out their share of reviewing and in a timely manner
  • provide journal with personal and professional information
  • recognize that impersonation or another individual during the review process is considered serious misconducts
Conflicts of Interest

In order to ensure fairness in the referee process, we try to avoid referees who have recent or ongoing collaborations with the authors, have commented on drafts of the manuscript, are in direct competition, have a history of dispute with the authors, or have a financial interest in the outcome. Because it is not possible for the editors to know of all possible biases, however, we ask referees to draw our attention to anything that might affect their report, including commercial interests, and to decline to referee in cases where they feel unable to be objective. We do not find it necessary to exclude referees who have reviewed a paper for another journal; the fact that two journals have independently identified a particular person as well qualified to referee a paper does not decrease the validity of her/his opinion in our view.

Confidential comments to the Review Editor

The authors of submitted papers have right to make confidential comments to the review editor which will be considered and either accepted or exerted editor’s response via comments to the some data of these confidential comments of the authors. Such communications between the authors of submitted papers and editor should contribute to the improvement as of the review process as well as of content submission.

Comments to the Author

Reviewer’s comments to the authors of the submitted papers, which should be subjected to revision, must be studied by the authors of the submitted papers carefully, and authors of the submitted papers must make the new submission of the revised manuscript taking into account all comments or remarks of the reviewer. Besides the authors of the submitted papers should make own responses on all reviewer’s comments. Such communications between the authors of submitted papers and reviewer should contribute to the improvement quality of revised submission.

Ethical responsibilities of a reviewer

Peer review in all its forms plays an important role in ensuring the integrity of the journal 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. NobleResearch Publishers has produced some guidelines which set out the basic principles and standards to which all peer reviewers should adhere during the peer-review process in research publication (see above Reviewer Guidelines). The aim has been to make them generic so that they can be applied across disciplines.