Manuscripts that meet the journal’s scope and submission criteria are sent to expert consultants for peer review. CME credit may be awarded for excellent and timely reviews. All invited and prospective reviewers should carefully read the below policies and procedures. If you would like to be a peer reviewer, please send your CV to email@example.com.
Overview Of Manuscript Submission To Final Decision
- The journal follows a single-blind peer review process. Reviewers’ identities are kept confidential.
- The journal maintains strict confidentiality regarding submitted manuscripts. Reviewers must not keep copies of the manuscripts they review; discuss any of the information or data with others; or print, post, or publish their own comments or the author’s reply to them in any form.
Conflict of Interest. Reviewers who have a financial or personal conflict of interest related to a manuscript are obligated to decline the reviewer position.
Time Sensitivity. Out of fairness to our authors, we need to respond to them in a timely manner with any suggestions or recommendations. If you would like to review the manuscript but your current activities prevent you from submitting comments within the requested 3 weeks, please contact the Publications Manager immediately to request an extension.
Concern About Possible Ethics Violations. If you suspect ethical violations in a manuscript under review (eg, misconduct, plagiarism, duplicate submission), we request that you note this in your confidential comments to the Editor.
Please refer to COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers for further discussion of ethical standards for peer review.
Steps In The Peer Review Process
Who is invited to review?
Reviewers are selected in multiple ways:
- From a list of reviewers and authors who have registered in our submission system and have indicated they have the same areas of interest as the manuscript’s topic.
- From authors of articles found at the National Library of Medicine who are experts in their field.
- From recommendations of authors of the manuscript, your colleagues, or other reviewers.
Receiving an Invitation to Review. If you are invited to review a manuscript, you will receive a “Request to Review” email with the manuscript’s title and abstract and the deadline when the review is expected. From this email, you can either accept or decline the invitation. An RSVP in a timely fashion is appreciated so that we may secure a replacement reviewer if you are unavailable.
Deciding Whether to Accept an Invitation to Review. Consider your schedule.
- If your schedule allows you to submit your review within the requested 3 weeks, then please accept the invitation. If you would like to review the manuscript but cannot meet the deadline, please contact the Publications Manager immediately to request an extension.
- If your schedule does not permit you to submit a review in a timely fashion, then please decline so that we may promptly ask another reviewer. Your recommendation of an another expert in the field would be extremely helpful.
Accepting the Invitation to Review. Upon accepting an invitation, you will receive an email with instructions that guide you through accessing the manuscript and submitting your review. If you have not previously registered in the journal’s online submission system, you will receive an email notifying you that journal staff has registered you by proxy. This email will direct you on how to obtain a password and create a profile.
How do I provide a quality review?
Accessing the Manuscript and Completing Your Review. You will access the manuscript and review form by clicking a link in the “Thank you for agreeing to review” email.
Here’s an overview of the reviewer steps:
- Read the manuscript and organize your thoughts and feedback about it (see Tips below).
- Access the reviewer form and answer a set of yes/no questions that evaluate the manuscript.
- Recommend a disposition of the manuscript (Reject, Major Revision, Minor Revision, Accept Without Revision [rare]). When making your recommendation, you should carefully evaluate whether the manuscript is appropriate for publication in the journal, keeping in mind that the journal can accept only the top 20% of submissions, and suggest revision only when you feel it will achieve this 20%.
- Provide comments to the authors.
- Provide confidential comments to the Editor to explain your recommendation or provide other important information. (Your comments in this space are optional, but encouraged.)
- We are asking all clients to use electronic delivery methods to submit any information or documents needed in support of our service to you. Please do not provide information using physical mail as we may not be able to retrieve it during this time.
Tips for preparing a quality review:
- Read through the manuscript, making notes as you go. Multiple passes may be needed to first gain a general understanding of the study and then zero in on particular points.
- You will be asked the following yes/no questions about the manuscript when you submit your review, so consider them as you read through the manuscript now:
- Current, timely
- Advances clinical knowledge
- Illustrations need improvement
- Condense manuscript
- Writing needs improvement
- Adequately covered in the literature
- Unwarranted conclusions
- When planning the feedback you will provide the authors, think about the following points:
- Introduction: Is the aim of the study clearly delineated? Do the authors place the research in the context of previous work? Have they omitted previous research that should be addressed?
- Title: Is the title informative, clear, and self-explanatory?
- Abstract: Does the abstract clearly delineate the method and summarize the most important results?
- Experimental design and methods: Is the design of the study appropriate for the study’s objective or question? Is enough detail given that others could replicate the research?
- Ethics: Is the research ethically sound? Were standard guidelines regarding informed consent and the health and safety of the participants followed?
- Statistics: Have appropriate tests been used? Are the statistical methods, and the reason for their selection, explained well?
- Figures and tables: Do the graphics tell the story clearly and effectively? Are all of them needed? Do they excessively repeat data given in the text?
- Reference citations: Are they current (as possible)? Are assertions made in the Introduction and Discussion supported with citations as appropriate?
- Language and organization: Many authors are writing in a second language. There’s no need to point out typos, as accepted manuscripts undergo copyediting; however, if poor writing quality, grammar, or organization interferes with your understanding the article, then advise the authors that editing will be needed prior to resubmission.
- Conclusions: Are the conclusions overstated? Is evidence of commercial bias or “marketing” language present?
- Clinical perspective: Will the article be clinically useful for the journal’s readership?
- For case reports only: Please indicate not only the quality of the case write-up but also the value of the treatment in terms of its uniqueness or contribution to clinical practice. A published case report should provide valuable information regarding what is possible in treatment, not just be a record of a typical treatment.
Tips for structuring your comments to the authors:
- Summarize the objective, methods, and main findings of the manuscript. Indicate whether the study makes a valuable and novel contribution to the literature.
- List necessary major revisions (as applicable).
- List necessary minor revisions.
- List optional revisions that you feel would be of benefit but are nonessential.
Finally, ask yourself: Are your comments collegial and constructive? Consider your response to the comments if the manuscript were yours. The tone of the review should be respectful, and criticisms of the manuscript should be objective.
Providing confidential comments to the editor: This step is optional but encouraged, as it can be invaluable in helping the editor make a better-informed decision.
- Explain further the reasons for your recommendation for disposition of the manuscript.
- Provide any additional information you feel would be important for context.
- If you suspect misconduct, such as plagiarism, undeclared conflicts of interest, or falsification of data, please advise the editor.
Why should I be a reviewer?
- Influence research in the field. Peer review is regarded as an important professional obligation for researchers who submit scholarly publications.
- Mentor young researchers through positive guidance and constructive criticism. And because others were gracious enough to share their valuable time when they reviewed your manuscript.
- Gain professional recognition.
- In the first issue of each year, the journal publicly recognizes all individuals who reviewed for the journal in the previous year. Those who reviewed the most manuscripts in that year receive special recognition as members of the Circle of Honor, which is the journal’s acknowledgment of the indispensable contribution generously donated by these individuals.
- If you need a letter for your CV documenting the quantity of manuscripts reviewed, you may contact the journal at the appropriate email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Receive 3 CME AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Refer to the FAQs below for information on how to claim these credits.
For Further Reading on Peer Review
COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers: https://publicationethics.org/files/Peer%20review%20guidelines.pdf
Peer Review: The Nuts and Bolts: https://senseaboutscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/peer-review-the-nuts-and-bolts.pdf
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time am I allotted to complete the review? What if I realize later that I need extra time?
Three weeks from the date of acceptance, with an additional 2-week grace period provided the journal is contacted for an extension. Timeliness of the review will be considered when determining whether your review qualifies for CME credit.
Can I see the other reviewers’ comments for the manuscript I review?
Yes. Once a decision is made, you will be able to access the decision letter that includes blinded reviewer comments.
Can I see the author’s reply to comments?
If you are asked to review the revised manuscript, you will see the author’s replies to your initial comments. Most often, however, the Editor can make a judgment on the disposition of the manuscript without necessitating re-review.
Can I post my reviewer comments or share them in any other way, like in my CV?
No. Doing so would jeopardize reviewer confidentiality, which is a condition of your agreement to participate as a peer reviewer. If you need a letter from the journal for your curriculum vitae on the quantity of manuscripts reviewed, in addition to any applicable CME credit certificates, you may contact the journal: email@example.com.
How do I get 3 CME AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ for my review?
You must fulfill 2 obligations to receive credit:
- Meet the deadline for completing your review.
- Submit a quality review.
The Editor will review the timeliness and quality of your review to determine if it qualifies for CME credit. If it has met these 2 criteria, you’ll be sent an email from the journal. Click the link provided in the letter, then log into CME Institute (or create an account so you can log in), and complete the Evaluation. Once it is completed, the system will generate a CME Certificate that you can download.
How many CME credits for peer review can I claim in a year?
The ACCME allows you to claim up to a total of 15 CME AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ for peer reviews each year. This total represents the combined reviews you contribute for all journals. While you may not claim credits above 15, you can still obtain a certificate for your records. The service you provide by doing the peer review is priceless.