Instructions to the reviewer
Peer review is the system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Independent researchers in the relevant research areas assess submitted manuscripts for originality, validity, and significance to help editors determine whether a manuscript should be published in their journal.
How does it work?
When a manuscript is submitted to a journal, it is assessed to see if it meets the criteria for submission. If it does, the editorial team will select potential peer reviewers within the field of research to peer-review the manuscript and make recommendations.
Double-blind Review: the reviewers do not know the names of the authors, and the authors do not know who reviewed their manuscript.
This acts as a filter and ensures research is properly verified before being published
Peer review improves the quality of the research. Rigorous review by experts helps to hone key points and correct inadvertent errors
On being asked to review, please assess the following
Does the manuscript you are being asked to review truly match your expertise? The editor who has approached you may not know your work intimately and may only be aware of your work in a broader context. Only accept an invitation if you are competent to review the article.
Do you have time to review the manuscript? Reviewing a manuscript can be quite time-consuming. The time taken to review can vary from field to field, but a manuscript will take, on average, one day to review properly. Will you have sufficient time before the deadline stipulated in the invitation to conduct a thorough review? If you cannot conduct the review, let the editor know immediately and if possible, advise the editor of alternate reviewers.
Are there any potential conflicts of interest? A conflict of interest will not necessarily eliminate you from reviewing a manuscript, but full disclosure to the editor will allow them to make an informed decision. For example, if you work in the same department or institute as one of the authors, worked on a paper previously with an author, or have a professional or financial connection to the manuscript. These should all be listed when responding to the editor’s invitation for review.
Reviewing needs to be conducted confidentially; the manuscript you have been asked to review should not be disclosed to a third party. You should not attempt to contact the author.
Be aware when you submit your review that any recommendations you make will contribute to the final decision made by the editor.
Evaluate the manuscript according to the following.
Is the manuscript sufficiently novel and interesting to warrant publication? Does it add to the canon of knowledge? Does the manuscript adhere to the journal’s standards? Is the research question an important one? In order to determine its originality and appropriateness for the journal, it might be helpful to think of the research in terms of what percentile it is in: Is it in the top 25% of papers in this field? You might wish to do a quick literature search using tools such as
This is to see if there are any reviews of the area. If the research been covered previously, pass on references of those works to the editor.
Is the manuscript clearly laid out? In the case of the original article, are all the key elements present: abstract, introduction, material and methods, results, discussion, and references? Consider each element in turn:
If an article is poorly written due to grammatical errors, while it may make it more difficult to understand science, you do not need to correct the English. You may wish to bring it to the attention of the editor, however
If the article builds upon previous research does it reference that work appropriately? Are there any important works that have been omitted? Are the references accurate?
Plagiarism: If you suspect that a manuscript is a substantial copy of another work, let the editor know, citing the previous work in as much details as possible
Fraud: It is very difficult to detect the determined fraudster, but if you suspect the results in a manuscript to be untrue, discuss it with the editor
Other ethical concerns: If the research is medical in nature, has confidentiality been maintained? If there has been a violation of accepted norms of ethical treatment of animal or human subjects these should also be identified.
Once you have completed your evaluation of the manuscript the next step is to write up your report. If it looks like you might miss your deadline, let the editor know.
Download the manuscript in word format from the link provided at www.innovpub.org pre-publication portal after your reviewer login.
Provide your report online by checking various boxes, entering comments in ‘Comments for editor’ and Comments for authors’. Provide a quick summary of the manuscript in ‘Comments to the editor’. It serves the dual purpose of reminding the editor of the details of the report and also reassuring the author and editor that you understood the manuscript. You may make changes/corrections in the word document of the manuscript and send it to the editor by using the browse file button.
The report should contain the key elements of your review, addressing the points outlined in the preceding section (preferably identifying page and line number). Commentary should be courteous and constructive, and should not include any personal remarks or personal details including your name.
Providing insight into any deficiencies is important. You should explain and support your judgment so that both editors and authors are better able to understand the basis of the comments. You should indicate whether your comments are your own opinion or reflected by data.
When you make a recommendation regarding a manuscript, it is worth considering the categories an editor will likely use for classifying the article.
In cases of 2 to 4 clearly identify what revision is required, and indicate to the editor whether or not you would be happy to see/ review the revised article.
Peer review process can be broadly summarized into various steps, although these steps can vary slightly between journals as mentioned in the diagram below.
Editor Feedback: “Reviewers should remember that they are representing the readers of the journal. Will the readers of this particular journal find this informative and useful?”
1. Submission of Manuscript: The corresponding or submitting authors submits manuscript to the journal via www.innovpub.org manuscript submission portal – Innovative Pre-Publication Portal or sometimes journal may accept submission by email.
2. Editorial office scrutiny: The journal checks the manuscript composition and arrangement against the journal's author’s guidelines to make sure it includes the required sections and style. The quality of the paper is not assessed at this point.
3. Decision by Editor-in-Chief (EIC): The Editor-in-chief checks that the manuscript appropriate for the journal is sufficiently original and interesting. If not, the manuscript may be rejected without being reviewed for any further action.
4. Editor-in-Chief assigns an Editorial Board (EB): Journals have an Editorial board or who handles the peer review. If they do, they would be assigned at this stage.
5. Invitation to Reviewers: The handling editor sends invitations to individuals he or she believes would be appropriate reviewers. As responses are received, further invitations are issued, if necessary, until the required number of acceptances is obtained – commonly this is second, but there is some variation between journals.
6. Response to Invitations: Potential reviewers consider the invitation against their own expertise, conflicts of interest and availability. They accept or decline. If possible, when declining, they might also suggest alternative reviewers.
7. Review is conducted: The reviewer sets time aside to read the manuscript several times. The first read is used to form an initial impression of the work. If major problems are found at this stage, the reviewer may feel comfortable rejecting the paper without further work, Otherwise they will read the paper several more times, taking notes so as to build a detailed point-by-point review. The review is then submitted to the journal, with a recommendation to accept or reject it, or else with a request for revision or highlight as either major or minor before it is reconsidered.
8. Journal evaluates the reviews: The handling editor considers all the returned reviews before making an overall decision. If the review differs widely, the editor may invite an additional reviewer so as to get an extra opinion before making a decision.
9. Decision is communicated: The editor sends a decision email to the author including any relevant reviewer comments. Whether the comments are anonymous or not will depend on the type of peer review that the journal operates.
10. Acceptance confirmation: If accepted, the manuscript is sent to production. If the manuscript is rejected or sent back for either major or minor, the handling editor should include constructive comments from the reviewers to help the author improve the article. At this point, reviewers should also be sent an email or letter to inform them of the outcome of their review. If the paper was sent back for revision, the reviewers should expect to receive a new version, unless they have opted out of further participation. However, where only minor changes were requested this follow-up review might be done by the handling editor.
The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines has published ethical guidelines for peer review (https://publicationethics.org/) Ethical Guideline for Peer Reviewers. We ensure that that peer review is fair, unbiased, and timely. Discussion to accept or reject a manuscript for publication is based on the manuscript’s importance, originality, and clarity. We use a wide range of sources to identify potential reviewers, including the editorial board, personal knowledge, author suggestions, and bibliographic databases. Reviewers' evaluation plays a major role in our decision as to where to accept a manuscript for publication and working as a double-blind review process in which the identities of the authors are hidden from the reviewers, and identities of reviewers are hidden from authors. Reviewers can choose to sign their review if they wish.
Reviewer Comments to the Editor will be submitted to the Handling Editor-in-Chief only. These should include any possible conflicts of interest. Comments and constructive criticism of the manuscript should be placed in the Comments to the Author.
Review points to consider :
Is the information of significant interest to the board readership of the journal? Is the topic of the manuscript appropriate for the journals?
Comment on any possible research, publication misconduct as below:
Comments should be constructive and designed to enhance the manuscript. You should consider yourself the authors’ mentor. Make your comments as complete and detailed as possible. Express your views clearly with supporting arguments and references as necessary. Include clear opinions about the strengths, weaknesses, and relevance of the manuscript, its originality, and its importance to the field. Specific comments that cite line numbers are most helpful. If you feel unqualified to address certain aspects of the manuscript, please include a statement to identify these areas.
Your Comments to the Author will be submitted to the Handling Editor and the Editor-in-Chief. They are also communicated to the authors and to the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript once the editor has made a decision.
Begin by identifying the major contribution of the paper. What are its major strengths and weaknesses, and its suitability for publication? Please include both general and specific comments beaning on these questions, and emphasize your most significant points.
Support your general comments, positive or negative, with specific evidence.