Peer Review Guidelines
For evaluating originality, peer reviewers should consider the following elements:
- Does the research paper add to the existing knowledge?
- Do research questions, and/or hypotheses are appropriate to the objective of the research work?
- If the layout and format of the paper is not as prescribed, the reviewers should discuss it with the editor or should include this observation in his/her review report. On the other side, if the research paper is exceptionally well, the reviewer may overlook the formatting issues. Other times, reviewers may suggest restructuring the paper before publication.
The following elements should be carefully evaluated:
- If there is a serious problem with language expression and the reviewer gets an impression that the research paper does not fulfill the linguistic requirements and readers would face difficulties to read and comprehend the paper. Such a situation would usually arise when the author’s native language is not English. The reviewer should record this deficiency in his/her report and suggest the editor for proper editing.
- The data presented in the paper is original or reproduced from previously conducted or published work. The papers which reflect originality are more likely to be given preference for publication.
- The clarity of illustrations including photographs, models, charts, images, and figures is essential to note. If there is duplication, that should be reported in the review report. Similarly, the descriptions provided in the "results" section should correspond with the data presented in tables/figures, if not then it should be clearly listed in the review report.
- Critically review the statistical analysis of the data. Also, check the rationale and appropriateness of the specific analysis.
- Reviewers should read the "Methodology" section in detail and make sure that the author(s) has demonstrated an understanding of the procedures being used and presented in the manuscript.
- The relationship between ‘Data, findings’ and ‘Discussion’ requires thorough evaluation. Unnecessary conjecture or unfounded conclusions that are not based on the presented data are not acceptable.
- Is the organization of the research paper appropriate or deviating from the standard or prescribed format?
- Does the author(s) follow the guidelines prescribed by the journal for the preparation and submission of the manuscript?
- Is the research paper free from typographical errors?
- The reviewer must explicitly write his/her observations in the section of "comments" because the author(s) will only see the comments reviewers have made,
- For writing a review report, reviewers are requested to complete a prescribed form(s),
- It is helpful for both the editor and author(s) if the reviewer writes a brief summary in the first section of the review report. This summary should comprise of reviewer’s final decision and inferences drawn from a full review,
- Any personal comments on the author(s) should be avoided, and final remarks must be written in a courteous and positive manner,
- Indicating any deficiencies is important. For the understanding of the editor and author(s), the reviewers should highlight these deficiencies in some detail with specificity. This will also justify the comments made by the reviewer,
- When the reviewer makes a decision regarding the research paper, it will clearly indicate as ‘Reject,’ ‘Accept without revision,’ or ‘Need Revision’ and either of the decisions should have the justification of the same.
- The reviewers should indicate the revisions clearly and comprehensively and show a willingness to confirm the revisions submitted by the author(s) if the editor wishes so.
Suitability and Promptness
Peer reviewers should:
- Inform the editor if they do not have the subject expertise required to carry out the review and s/he should inform the editor immediately after receiving a request,
- Be responsible for acting promptly and submit the review report on time,
- Immediately inform the editor of any possible delays and suggest another date for submitting a review report, and
- Not unnecessarily delaying the review process, either by prolonged delay in submission of their review or by requesting unnecessary additional data/information from the editor or author(s).
Standards of Objectivity
- Reviews should be objectively carried out with a consideration of high academic, scholarly and scientific standards,
- All judgments should be meticulously established and maintained in order to ensure the full comprehension of the reviewer’s comments by the editors and the author(s),
- Both reviewers and author(s) in rebuttal should avoid unsupported assertions,
- The reviewer may justifiably criticize a manuscript, but it would be inappropriate and impressible to resort to personal criticism on the author(s), and
- Reviewers should ensure that their decision is purely based on the quality of the research paper and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any personal, financial, or other conflicting considerations or by intellectual biases.
- Reviewers should keep the research paper as a confidential document and must not discuss its content on any platform except in cases where professional advice is being sought with the authorization of the editor, and
- Reviewers are professionally and ethically bound not to disclose the details of the research paper prior to its publication without the prior approval of the editor.
- If the reviewer suspects that the research paper is almost the same as someone else’s work, s/he will ethically inform the editor and provide its citation as a reference,
- If the reviewer suspects the results in a research paper to be untrue/unrealistic/fake, s/he will share it with the editor,
- If there has been an indication of violating ethical norms in the treatment of human beings (e.g., children, females, poor people, disabled, elderly, etc.), then this should be identified to the editor, and
- If the research paper is based on any previous research study or is a replica of earlier work or the work is plagiarized, e.g., the author has not acknowledged/referenced others’ work.