Peer review is the system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Independent researchers in the relevant research area assess submitted manuscripts for originality, validity, and significance to help editors determine whether the manuscript should be published in their journal. All manuscripts submitted to our journals undergo preliminary evaluation for their compliance with the instructions for authors, language, contribution to science, and originality. Manuscripts that are evaluated as insufficient or non-compliant with the instructions for authors may be rejected without peer review. The Editor-in-Chief, if he/she sees necessary, may assign a Subject Editor for the article or may conduct the scientific assessment of the article himself/herself. Editors may also assign reviews for the scientific assessment of the article and make their decisions based on reports by the reviews .
This journal uses a double-blind review. Articles pass the "Double-Blind Peer Review". The experts will be asked to evaluate whether the manuscript is scientifically sound and coherent, whether it duplicates already published work, and whether or not the manuscript is sufficiently clear for publication. Each article is sent to 2 reviewers, if both reviewers agree, the article is accepted for publication. If both reviewers give refusal to the article, the article is rejected. If one of the reviewers accepts an objection, the article is to the third referee and accepted or rejected according to his decision. The Editors will reach a decision based on these reports and, where necessary, they will consult with the members of the Editorial Board. The Editor-in-Chief makes the final decision regarding the publishing of the article.
The review process is dependent on reviewers’ responses. IJSM expects review processing duration as approximately 4-8 months. It is aimed that all these processes should not exceed 4 months.
Peer reviewer selection
• Editor(s) are expected to obtain a minimum of two peer reviewers for manuscripts reporting primary research or secondary analysis of primary research. It is recognized that in some exceptional circumstances, particularly in niche and emerging fields, it may not be possible to obtain two independent peer reviewers. In such cases, Editor(s) may wish to make a decision to publish based on one peer review report. When making a decision based on one report, Editor(s) are expected to only do so if the peer review report meets the standards set out below.
• Peer review reports should be provide constructive critical evaluations of the authors’ work, particularly in relation to the appropriateness of methods used, whether the results are accurate, and whether the conclusions are supported by the results. Editorial decisions should be based on peer reviewer comments that meet these criteria rather than on recommendations made by short, superficial peer reviewer reports which do not provide a rationale for the recommendations.
• Editor(s) are expected to independently verify the contact details of reviewers suggested by authors or other third parties. Institutional email addresses should be used to invite peer reviewers wherever possible. Each manuscript should be reviewed by at least one reviewer who was not suggested by the author.
• Manuscripts that do not report primary research or secondary analysis of primary research, such as Editorials, Book Reviews, Commentaries or Opinion articles, may be accepted without peer review. Such manuscripts should be assessed by the Editor(s) if the topic is in the area of expertise of the Editor(s); if the topic is not in area of expertise of the Editor(s), such manuscripts should be assessed by at least one independent expert reviewer or Editorial Board Member.
In the rare, exceptional, occasions when two independent peer reviewers cannot be secured, the Editor may act as a second reviewer or make a decision using only one report.
• Editor must have a sufficient amount of knowledge in the area if acting as a second reviewer
• Editor should sign the review to ensure transparency in the peer review process
• Any single reports should be detailed and thorough
• The first reviewer should be senior, on topic and have published recently on the subject
Potential peer reviewers should inform the Editor of any possible conflicts of interest before accepting an invitation to review a manuscript. Communications between Editors and peer reviewers contain confidential information that should not be shared with third parties.
IJSM allow authors to suggest potential reviewers, and to request that some be excluded from consideration (usually a maximum of two people/research groups). Editors will consider these requests, but are not obliged to fulfill them. The Editor's decision on the choice of peer reviewers is final.
Authors should not recommend recent collaborators or colleagues who work in the same institution as themselves. Authors can suggest peer reviewers in the cover letter. Information which will help the Editor verify the identity and expertise of the reviewer will be required. This includes the suggested reviewer’s institutional email address and ORCID or Scopus ID.
Peer reviewer guidance
The primary purpose of peer review is providing the Editor with the information needed to reach a fair, evidence-based decision that adheres to the journal’s editorial criteria. Review reports should also help authors revise their paper such that it may be accepted for publication. Reports accompanied by a recommendation to reject the paper should explain the major weaknesses of the research; this will help the authors prepare their manuscript for submission to a different journal.
Peer reviewers should adhere to the principles of COPE's Ethical Guidelines for Peer-reviewers.
Confidential comments to the Editor are welcome, but they must not contradict the main points in the report for the authors.
Peer reviewers should assess papers exclusively against the journal’s criteria for publication.
The following conventions should be respected:
• Reviewers should review the peer review policy of the Journal before revealing their reviewer role.
• Reviews should be conducted objectively.
• Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate, as are defamatory/libelous remarks.
• Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments and references.
• Reviewers should declare any potential competing interests.
• Reviewers should decline to review manuscripts with which they believe they have a competing interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
• Reviewers should respect the confidentiality of material supplied to them and not discuss unpublished manuscripts with colleagues or use the information in their own work.
• Any reviewer who wants to pass a peer review invitation onto a colleague must contact the journal in the first instance.
Concerns relating to these points, or any aspect of the review process, should be raised with the editorial team.
We ask reviewers the following types of questions, to provide an assessment of the various aspects of a manuscript:
• Key results: Please summarize what you consider to be the outstanding features of the work.
• Validity: Does the manuscript have flaws which should prohibit its publication? If so, please provide details.
• Originality and significance: If the conclusions are not original, please provide relevant references.
• Data & methodology: Please comment on the validity of the approach, quality of the data and quality of presentation. Please note that we expect our reviewers to review all data, including any extended data and supplementary information. Is the reporting of data and methodology sufficiently detailed and transparent to enable reproducing the results?
• Appropriate use of statistics and treatment of uncertainties: All error bars should be defined in the corresponding figure legends; please comment if that’s not the case. Please include in your report a specific comment on the appropriateness of any statistical tests, and the accuracy of the description of any error bars and probability values. Evaluation checklists can be found here.
• Conclusions: Do you find that the conclusions and data interpretation are robust, valid and reliable?
• Inflammatory material: Does the manuscript contain any language that is inappropriate or potentially libelous?
• Suggested improvements: Please list suggestions that could help strengthen the work in a revision.
• References: Does this manuscript reference previous literature appropriately? If not, what references should be included or excluded? Attempts at reviewer-coerced citation will be noted against your record in our database.
• Clarity and context: Is the abstract clear, accessible? Are abstract, introduction and conclusions appropriate?
• Please indicate any particular part of the manuscript, data, or analyses that you feel is outside the scope of your expertise, or that you were unable to assess fully.
• Please address any other specific questions asked by the editor.
• Reviewers should alert the Editor if they wish to make an allegation of publication or research misconduct, e.g. plagiarism or image manipulation, about an article they are reviewing.
Before you submit your report, please take a moment to read it through and put yourself in the place of the authors. How would you feel if you received this report? Would the tone offend you? Is it courteous and professional? Are there unnecessary personal remarks or antagonistic comments about the authors or their competitors? Please note that the Editor reserves the right to remove any inappropriate language from your report.
Reports do not necessarily need to follow this specific order but should document the peer reviewer’s thought process. Some journals have a set of questions that reviewers will need to specifically address. All statements should be justified and argued in detail, naming facts and citing supporting references, commenting on all aspects that are relevant to the manuscript and that the reviewers feel qualified commenting on. Not all of the above aspects will necessarily apply to every paper, due to discipline-specific standards. When in doubt about discipline-specific peer-reviewing standards, reviewers can contact the Editor for guidance.
It is our policy to remain neutral with respect to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations, and the naming conventions used in maps and affiliation are left to the discretion of authors. Peer reviewers should not, therefore, request authors to make any changes to such unless it is critical to the clarity of the academic content of a manuscript.
IJSM are committed to rapid editorial decisions and publication, and we believe that an efficient editorial process is a valuable service both to our authors and to the research community as a whole. We therefore ask reviewers to respond promptly within the number of days agreed. If reviewers anticipate a delay, we ask them to let us know so that we can keep the authors informed and, where necessary, find alternatives.
Peer reviewer recognition
IJSM is committed to recognizing the invaluable service performed by our dedicated peer reviewers. A certificate of appreciation is sent to the reviewers after the review process.