Peer Review Guidelines

Peer reviewers should always consider unpublished manuscripts send to them as confidential documents and should not discuss the matter even with colleagues. If you think that a colleague would be a more suitable reviewer for a particular manuscript, please let the editor know.

The Editor who has approached you may not know your work intimately, and may only be aware of your work in a broader context. Only accept an invitation if your area of expertise corresponds to the article in question.

Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest will not necessarily eliminate you from reviewing an article, but full disclosure to the editor will allow them to make an informed decision. For example; if you work in the same department or institute as one of the authors; if you have worked on a paper previously with an author; or you have a professional or financial connection to the article. These should all be declared when responding to the editor’s invitation for review.

Recognizing Peer Reviewers

We are testing if open peer review offers better results in comparison to closed review. Hence we provide reviewers the choice of whether they want their identity to be revealed or not. Experience shows that good reviewers will want to be recognized and we do that in the editorial notes of the article.

Rewarding Peer Reviewers

We think it is important to reward peer reviewers for the time and effort they put in for doing comprehensive reviews that help in editorial decision making. Hence we provide rewards in the form of certificates and publishing credits to reviewers who rank consistently high in our editorial evaluation. We follow an internal ranking system that qualifies one or more reviewers every publishing cycle. The Editorial Board’s decision is final and binding in this matter.

General guidelines

Even though we provide article specific appraisal forms for reviewers to complete, detailed answering of the following questions will make a good review. Please give detailed and constructive comments that will both help the editors to make a decision and the authors to improve the article.

  1. Is the article relevant from a current medical knowledge point of view?
  2. Does the article add new knowledge to the field of medicine? If not does it add context or relevance to existing medical knowledge? Please describe how.
  3. Does the article read well and make sense? Does it have a clear message?
  4. Does the work appear to be original or does it appear like a copy of some existing literature. Provide relevant references.
  5. Is/are the research question(s)/objective(s) clearly defined and adequately answered?
  6. Is the design of the study appropriate and adequate to answer the research question(s)?
  7. Are the study subjects adequately described, their conditions defined, inclusion and exclusion criteria described?
  8. Was the study ethical, irrespective of ethics committee/IRB clearance?
  9. Is the sample size adequate? Is the sampling method relevant? Is the sample representative of the population which the study seeks to address?
  10. Are the methods adequately described? Is the main outcome measure clearly defined? Are the statistics adequate/appropriate?
  11. Do the results answer the research question/objectives? Are the results credible and well-presented using appropriate figures and tables?
  12. Are the results discussed in the light of relevant existing evidence?
  13. Do the interpretations and conclusions pertain to the objectives and are derived from the results?
  14. Are the references relevant and presented in the format recommended by the journal (Vancouver style)?
  15. Is the abstract and keywords in agreement with the full text of the study?
  16. Are only accepted abbreviations used in the article and are they adequately expanded?

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