We consider manuscript evaluation as a highly-regarded and honourable service to the readers and to the scientific community at large. Referees play a vital role not only in helping to evaluate individual manuscripts, but also in determining the overall quality of the journal. Therefore, we take great care when choosing referees and take into account their expertise and reputation in the field as well as our own past experience with them.
Confidentiality and Anonymity Policies
Referees should treat the whole review process and any correspondence with them in this regards, either from the editor or from the publisher, strictly confidential, nor should they discuss the manuscript directly with someone not involved in the review process without the editor’s prior consent.
We believe that anonymity of the referees is important for an objective review of a manuscript. Therefore, we do not disclose identities of the referees to the authors or to other referees of the manuscripts, during or after the review process, without their permission.
Conflicts of Interest
We request our referees to refuse the review of a manuscript if they feel there is a conflict of interest (financial or otherwise) that might prevent an impartial and/or object review. A conflict of interest could arise under a number of circumstances and is difficult to define clearly. We would generally ask you to refuse if you:
- have a financial interest in the outcome of the research
- are competing to publish similar findings
- have had past disputes with any of the manuscript authors
- have collaborated with any of the manuscript authors in the past two years
- have been a co-author with them on another article in the past two years
- have any other competing reasons
Our aim is to complete the whole reviewing process and publication of a manuscript as promptly as possible in order to keep timeliness of the published research. We therefore request our referees to respond to the editorial office’s initial contact with them as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours, and with their review report within 21 days, unless otherwise agreed with the editorial office.
Writing Review Report
While writing your report, please consider that the authors are most likely to have put enormous efforts in conducting research as well as in writing the manuscript. Therefore, aim your report to be critical but constructive, and avoid using offensive and discouraging language. In most cases, a referee’s report is conveyed to the authors as such; however, in rare cases, if we feel that a referee has used unfair language or has revealed any confidential information, we may appropriately edit it.
Please enter your comments in the Referee Report Form provided by the editorial office and send it back by email. You may also include confidential comments for the editor, but please include your main criticisms in the comments for the authors.
Your report should aim at providing a constructive input and explaining how the manuscript could be improved. While making a judgment on a manuscript we ask you to consider the following points:
- Originality: Is the work original and novel? If not, why?
- Interest: Is the work of general or specialised interest?
- Research question: Is the research question clearly defined and answered?
- Design: Is the study adequately designed to answer the research question?
- Abstract: Does it correctly summarise the study?
- Introduction: Does it provide an appropriate basis for the study?
- Methods: Are methodological details sufficient? Is any presented statistical analysis appropriate and sound? Are any additional statistical tests needed?
- Results: Are these logically presented and answer the research question?
- Discussion: Is the literature appropriately and fairly cited? Are the result clearly and justifiably discussed in the light of published literature?
- Conclusions: Are the claims and inferences drawn from study justified and convincing or do they need further evidence? Please explain. Should the authors have drawn any additional conclusions from the presented data?
- References: Are they up-to-date and relevant? Has any relevant/important reference been omitted?
- Ethical issue: Does the research raise any ethical concerns regarding the use of animal or human subjects?
- Overall readability: Is the manuscript clearly and concisely written? If not how could it be improved? Could it be shortened?
Final Decision on a Manuscript
Referees are welcome to recommend acceptance or rejection of a manuscript. However, the primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with analytical arguments to help them reach a decision. Therefore, if we have decided against a negative or positive recommendation of a referee it does not imply in any way our lack of confidence in the referee’s opinion or disregard for the referee’s expertise. It is likely that the other referees may have expressed opposite views and, therefore, quite often we have to base our decisions on conflicting reports, one way or the other.