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Guidance for Reviewers

Reviewer’s Responsibilities

All Reviewers have to follow the Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

General duties and responsibilities of Reviewers:
  • Reviewers must treat manuscripts received for peer review as confidential documents.
  • Confidential information or ideas obtained in the process of peer review must not be disclosed and used for personal advantage.
  • Reviews should be objective, observations should be presented in a clear way and accompanied by supporting arguments so that Authors could use them for correcting and improving the paper.
  • In the case of being unable to continue reviewing the assigned manuscript or to meet the deadline, the Reviewer should notify the Editor and excuse himself from the review process.
  • Reviewers should recognize a relevant published work that has not been cited by the Author. Any statement that had been previously reported elsewhere should be properly cited.
  • Reviewers should not consider the manuscripts, in which they have a conflict of interest resulting from competitive, cooperative, or other relationships or contacts with any of the Authors, companies, or institutions related to the papers.

Before accepting or declining a peer review request, Reviewers should take into consideration the following aspects:

  • Does the paper fit your scientific area of expertise? You should accept the request if you feel you can provide a high-quality review.
  • Do you have a potential conflict of interest? Disclose it to the Editor when responding.
  • Do you have time? Reviewing can be time-consuming. Before accepting the request, make sure that you can meet the deadline.

Reviewers should respond to the request at their earliest convenience since any delay slows down the peer review process, irrespective of whether the Reviewer agrees to review or not. If Reviewers decline a request, they can suggest an alternative Reviewer for the manuscript.

Conducting the Review

All the main features and options provided by the Reviewer Webinterface are described in the Manual for Reviewers.

Reviewers will be asked to evaluate the manuscript based on a number of criteria.

  1. 1. Originality.
    • Is the paper original?
    • Is the paper sufficiently novel and interesting for publication?
    • Does the paper meet the journal standards?
    • Is the scientific research an important one?
  2. 2. Structure.
    • Is the paper well-structured?
    • Are the figures clear?
    • Are the tables clear?
    • Does the paper have all the key elements: keywords, abstract, introduction, methodology, results, conclusions and discussions, references? Consider each aspect:
      • Language – Is English satisfactory? Is the manuscript free from errors?
      • Title – Is the title appropriate?
      • Keywords – Are the keywords appropriate?
      • Abstract – Does it convey the content of the paper?
      • Introduction – Does the Author state the objectives of the work, indicate the relevance of the results and give references to relevant literature? Does it describe what the Author aimed to achieve and clearly outline the problem under investigation?
      • Methodology – Does the Author accurately explain the data collected? Does the paper identify the procedures followed? Are the equipment and materials adequately described? Does the paper contain sufficient information to replicate the research?
      • Results – Is there any explanation what the Author discovered in the research? Do all of the Author’s results have proofs?
      • Conclusions and Discussions – Do the conclusions correspond to the results? Does the Author point how the results relate to earlier research? Do the conclusions explain the significance of the obtained results?
      • References – Are there any important works that have not been included? Are the references to related works adequate? Are the references accurate?

Giving their recommendations, Reviewers should consider the categories which Editors use for classifying papers:

  • To accept the paper without any changes (acceptance): the paper will be published in its original form.
  • To accept the paper with optional minor changes (acceptance): the paper will be published after the Author makes small corrections.
  • To revise the paper (mandatory minor/major revision): the paper will be reviewed after the Author(s) introduce(s) the changes suggested by the Reviewers and/or the Editor.
  • To reject the paper (rejection): the paper will not be published or reconsidered for publication even if the Author(s) makes a major revision.

Reviewers should give explanations and arguments in their reports so that both Editors and Authors would be able to fully understand the reasoning behind Reviewer’s comments. Reviewers’ comments on the manuscript should be detailed and constructive to enable the Editors make a decision on the publication and help the Author(s) correct and improve the submitted manuscript. The comments should be polite and constructive, and should not contain any personal remarks or personal details including Reviewer’s name.