The reviewer is responsible for critically examining and evaluating a manuscript in their specialty field, and then providing respectful, constructive, and honest feedback to authors about their submission. It is appropriate for the reviewer to indicate the strengths and weaknesses of the article, suggest ways to improve the quality of the work, and evaluate the relevance of the manuscript.
The identity of the reviewers should never be revealed to the authors at any time either during the process of review or after article publication. Reviewer’s comments should support one of the following feedback; “publish as it is”, “requiring minor changes”, or “requiring major changes”.
The peer review comments provided by reviewers must be transparent, unbiased and should not involve personal or professional conflicts.
The Quality of article
The comments given by the reviewer must be relevant and target to increase the quality of the manuscript.
Reviewers must submit the review within the timelines provided.
First Read Contemplations
Try to keep in mind the following questions because they’ll help in forming your overall impression:
- What is the main question addressed by the research? Is it relevant and interesting?
- How original is the topic? What does it add to the subject area compared with other published material?
- Is the paper well written? Is the text clear and easy to read?
- Are the conclusions consistent with the evidence and arguments presented? Do they address the main question posed?
- If the paper includes tables or figures, what do they add to the paper? Do they aid understanding or are they superfluous?
Identifying Potential Major Flaws
- Drawing a conclusion that is contradicted by the author’s own statistical or qualitative evidence.
- The use of a discredited method.
- Ignoring a process that is known to have a strong influence on the area under study.
- Insufficient data.
- Statistically non-significant variations.
- Unclear data tables.
- Contradictory data that either are not self-consistent or disagree with the conclusions.
- Confirmatory data that adds little, if anything, to current understanding – unless strong arguments for such repetition are made.
If you find a major flaws in the article, note your reasoning and clear supporting evidence.
Flagging after the First Reading
Even if you are coming to the opinion that an article has serious flaws in the first read, make sure you read the whole paper. This is very important because you may find some really positive aspects that can be communicated to the author. This could help them with future submissions. A full read-through will also make sure that any initial concerns are indeed correct and fair. After all, you need the context of the whole paper before deciding to reject. If you still intend to recommend rejection give constructive feedback describing ways that they could improve the research. This helps developing researchers improve their work and explains to the editor why you felt the manuscript should not be published.
Second Read Observations
When reviewing the next stage, reviewer should keep the following in mind:
- Does the title properly reflect the subject of the paper?
- Does the abstract provide an accessible summary of the paper?
- Do the keywords accurately reflect the content?
- Is the paper an appropriate length?
- Is the article novel and interesting?
- Does the article meet the journal’s standards?
- Is the research question significant?
- Does the author conducted the controlled experiments, repeated experiments and repeated analysis?
- Does the article identify the procedures followed?
- If the methods are new, are they explained in detail?
- Was the sampling appropriate?
- Have the equipment and materials been adequately described?
- Does the author collect the data accurately?
- Does the author accurately explain how the data was collected?
- Is there sufficient information present for you to replicate the research?
- Does the article make it clear what type of data was recorded?
- Does the author make reference to statistical analyses, such as significance or goodness of fit?
- You will need to check referencing for accuracy, adequacy and balance.
- Reviewers are requested not to use any information of the assigned data.
- You should mention the proper reasons to flag the article like what are the weak points and the areas to be improved further.
- Any kind of conflicts can be resolved at the editorial office.