What is Peer review ?
Peer review is the process of engaging substantive experts to read and comment on new research in the fields in which they study in order to validate and certify that research. It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility.
Why Peer review ?
- The process aims to provide authors with constructive feedback from relevant experts which they can be helpful to make improvements in their work, thus ensuring it is of the highest standard possible.
- Authors expect reviews to contain an honest and constructive appraisal, which is completed in a timely manner and provides feedback that is both clear and concise.
- To maintain awareness of the current research emerging within your subject area.
- Although often anonymous, the review process can act as a conversation between author, reviewer, and editor as to how the paper can be improved to maximize its impact and further research in the field.
Sample points to be considered before saying 'yes' to reviewing:
- Check with the form of review operated by the journal (single/blind/open).
- Methods of conducting the review– for example, is there a structured form for reviewers to complete or will you be required to write free text?
- Papers and correspondence sent to reviewers in the course of conducting peer review are to be dealt with as privileged confidential documents.
- Make the editor aware of this as soon as possible, if a conflict of interest exists.
- Whether you are able to complete the level of review required by the editor in the allotted time – extensions can be provided or a brief report may suffice on some occasions. If you are struggling to meet the deadline, let the editor know, so they can inform the Associate Managing Editor of the journal, if there is a delay.
The Review process for articles being published in SciDoc Journals, is carried out in an easy and quick manner. The submitted manuscript is assigned to one of the Editorial Board Members based on their area of interest. If the Editor agrees to accept the assignment, he can choose any of the three ways:
- Review the manuscript himself without assigning it to reviewers; or
- Assign atleast 3 potential reviewers for the review process; or
- Ask the Associate Managing Editor of the Journal to assign reviewers on his behalf.
The Assigned Reviewers have to submit their review comments within a period of two weeks either to the Assigned Editor or submit it directly to the Editorial Office of the Journal. The Reviewer has to submit his/her comments in the Electronic Review Form that is sent along with the Manuscript whereby he/she can:
- Reject the manuscript; or
- Re-review after a thorough revision; or
- Accept the manuscript with Major Revisions; or
- Accept the manuscript with Minor Revisions; or
- Accept the manuscript without any changes.
The review comments are then submitted to the Editor who will make a final decision whether to accept, reject or revise a manuscript. The author is notified at the same time with the Editor’s decision and the manuscript is proceeded further for publishing (if accepted). The submitted manuscript is published after 7 days from the date of acceptance.
Criteria for selecting reviewers for a particular manuscript depends upon a range of factors such as:
- Field of expertise
- Specific recommendations of Authors and academic Editors
- Editor’s own knowledge of reviewer
- To maintain confidentiality with respect to the manuscripts, once the review process commence.
- To evaluate the manuscript in a constructive way, providing a legible insight to author without any controversy.
- To maintain impartiality, in other words, reviewer decision should solely depend on scientific merit, relevance to the subject, scope of the journal rather on financial, racial, ethnic origin etc… of the authors.
- Reviewer should be responsible to complete the review within the relevant time and should take all necessary steps to fulfill the limitations of the journal.
Points to be considered while writing a review:
a. Make an assessment
1. Complete the review questions or report form to indicate the relative strengths or weaknesses of the paper.
2. A referee may disagree with the author’s opinions, but should allow them to stand, provided they are consistent with the available evidence.
b. Answer key questions
The main factors you provide advice as a reviewer are: the originality, presentation, relevance, and significance of the manuscript’s subject matter to the readership of the journal.
Try to have the following questions in mind while you are reading the manuscript:
• Is the submission original?
• Is the research cutting edge or topical?
• Does it help to expand or further research in this subject area?
• Does it significantly build on (the author’s) previous work?
• Does the paper fit the scope of the journal?
• Should it be shortened and reconsidered in another form?
• Would the paper be of interest to the readership of the journal?
• Is there an abstract or brief summary of the work undertaken as well as a concluding section? Is the paper complete?
• Is the methodology presented in the manuscript and any analysis provided both accurate and properly conducted?
• Do you feel that the significance and potential impact of a paper is high or low?
• Are all relevant accompanying data, citations, or references given by the author?
c. Other aspects to be considered
Abstract – Has this been provided (if required)? Does it adequately summarize the key findings/approach of the paper?
Length – Reviewers are asked to consider whether the content of a paper is of sufficient interest to justify its length. Each paper should be of the shortest length required to contain all useful and relevant information, and no longer.
Originality – Is the work relevant and novel? Does it contain significant additional material to that already published?
Presentation – Is the writing style clear and appropriate to the readership? Are any tables or graphics clear to read and labeled appropriately?
References – Does the paper contain the appropriate referencing to provide adequate context for the present work?
d. Make a recommendation
Once you’ve read the paper and have assessed its quality, you need to make a recommendation to the editor regarding publication.
The specific decision types used by a journal may vary but the key decisions are:
• Accept – if the paper is suitable for publication in its current form.
• Minor revision – if the paper will be ready for publication after light revisions. Please list the revisions you would recommend the author makes.
• Major revision – if the paper would benefit from substantial changes such as expanded data analysis, widening of the literature review, or rewriting sections of the text.
• Reject – if the paper is not suitable for publication with this journal or if the revisions that would need to be undertaken are too fundamental for the submission to continue being considered in its current form.
e. Provide detailed comments
• These should be suitable for transmission to the authors: use the comment to the author as an opportunity to seek clarification on any unclear points and for further elaboration.
• If you have time, make suggestions as to how the author can improve clarity, succinctness, and the overall quality of presentation.
• Confirm whether you feel the subject of the paper is sufficiently interesting to justify its length; if you recommend shortening, it is useful to the author(s) if you can indicate specific areas where you think that shortening is required.