GUIDELINES FOR PEER REVIEW
The purpose of peer-review is to act as a filter to ensure research is properly verified before being published and to improve the quality of research. You are not required to correct style, grammar or spelling as this will be done if the paper is accepted. However, any help you can give in clarifying meaning is appreciated.
Before agreeing to review you should consider the following:
• Does the article you are being asked to review match your expertise?
• Do you have time to review the paper? Time taken to review can vary from field to field and by article type. If you cannot conduct the review let the Editor know promptly and if possible advise the Editor to alternative reviewers.
• Potential conflicts of interest e.g. you work in the same Department or Institution as one of the authors, worked on paper previously with author or have a professional or financial connection to the article or the authors.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN REVIEWING A PAPER
• Is the research question an important one? What significance has the paper to the scientific community? Is it original, sufficiently novel and interesting? Does it add to the knowledge?
• Are the article type and length appropriate?
• Title and abstract – does it describe the paper adequately and does it reflect the content of the paper.
• Introduction – does it describe what the author hopes to achieve accurately and state the problem being investigated? It should summarise relevant research to provide context and explain what finding of others, if any, are being challenged or extended. It should describe the experiment and hypothesis.
• Literature cited – Is important work omitted? Are there missing or incomplete citations? Authors must give appropriate credit to ideas, concepts and data that have been published previously.
• Methodology – Have the authors used appropriate experimental design? Does the author accurately explain how the data was collected? Is the design suitable for answering the question posed? Is there sufficient information for others to replicate the research? Was the sampling appropriate? Have equipment and materials been adequately described?
• Have the authors used the following tools to ensure good practice in reporting their work? The CONSORT checklist when reporting randomised trials; The STARD checklist when reporting studies on diagnostic accuracy; The PRISMA checklist for systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
• Are the statistical analyses used appropriate?
• Conclusion/Discussion – are the claims supported by the results? Have the authors indicated how results relate to expectation and previous research? Does the paper support or contradict previous theories? Have the authors discussed the limitations of their study?
• Display items – Are the figures and tables appropriate? Do they inform the reader? Are they all necessary or would they be better as supplementary material? Are any additional display items required to help readers view the results?
• Ethical approval – Has appropriate ethical approval been sought if required? Papers should include a statement that the patient’s written consent was obtained and any information, including illustrations, should be anonymised as far as possible. Authors should indicate that the design of the work has been approved by local ethical committees or that it conforms to standards currently applied in the country of origin. When reporting animal experiments, authors should indicate whether the institution’s, national research council’s, or any other law on the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.
Please highlight scientific jargon, misspellings of chemical names, use of outmoded terminology and genetic nomenclature, etc.
Please alert us if you suspect plagiarism, dual submission and/or publication, conflicts of interest etc.
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