The purpose of peer review (also known as refereeing) is to help authors to improve the quality of the manuscript under consideration for publication, and assist editors in assessing manuscript submissions so as to ensure the quality of a scientific journal. Each journal relies on their reviewers' hard work in evaluating and refining the manuscripts before publication.
Single-blind peer review is adopted by our journals, which means the reviewer's identity is not revealed to the authors. Manuscripts submitted to our journals are refereed by at least two independent reviewers.
We strictly adhere to the criteria specified by COPE, OASPA, DOAJ, WAME and ICMJE for ethical practice in scholarly publishing under the principle of transparency. To maintain a high standard peer review, we ask reviewers to follow the criteria below:
We recommend reviewers refer to COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers when reviewing manuscripts that are submitted to our journals.
When inviting reviewers, we send an invitation along with the abstract of the manuscript and an expected deadline, which is usually two weeks, to help reviewers ascertain whether they are suitable and available to perform the review.
If they decide to review, reviewers are expected to evaluate the following aspects of the manuscript:Research Ethics
The research involving human, animal, plant subjects and/or cell lines should be designed and conducted in an ethically acceptable manner. Any work that fails to comply with the research ethics outlined in the Guidelines for Authors should be rejected.
Originality and Novelty
The results reported in the manuscript must be the original work of the authors without any plagiarism or fabrication. The manuscript, in whole or in part, should not have been previously published or be under consideration elsewhere. Manuscripts discussing new insights, methods or findings are preferred.
Interest and Significance
The work should be of interest to a certain readership, and important to the science of the research field of the journal.
The study should be designed flawlessly. Experiments and analysis should follow the recognized technical standards; the conclusion of the study must be supported by faithful, logical and reasonable evidence and data; the methods, tools, software and reagents used in the study should be described in detail, so that the result of the study can be reproduced.
Clarity of Presentation
The information should be presented in a clear and cohesive fashion without any organizational or stylistic barriers that would prevent effective communication of the work.
Quality of Language
The manuscript should be written in English clearly and precisely, free from spelling and grammatical errors and other linguistic inconsistencies.
More specifically, when reviewing a manuscript from beginning to the ending, reviewers should check:
Title: which should clearly describe the theme of the article.
Abstract: which should clearly reflect the content of the article.
Introduction: which should summarize the context of the current study with reference to previous studies, and highlight the contribution of this study to the field.
Methods: which should accurately describe the experimental design, sampling, equipment and materials, data collection and recording, and other information necessary, so that the study is replicable.
Results: which should explain the study findings in a detailed and logical manner with supportive analysis and statistics.
Discussion/Conclusion: which should discuss findings supported by the results which either extend or contradict previous studies, the contribution of this study to the science in the field, or failures and lessons should be recorded; future research directions are expected to be discussed and recommended in this section.
Tables, Figures, Images: which should clearly and properly present the data or test reaction and phenomenon.
After evaluating a manuscript in detail, reviewers are asked to provide both overall and detailed comments for authors, with publication recommendation and comments for editors. Authors can access to the entire review comments for authors, and the overall publication recommendation for editors, but cannot access reviewer's comments for editors, in which reviewers would indicate any issues of concern that are to be examined and determined by the editors.
If there is any suspected misconduct, fraud, plagiarism or any other unethical behavior, we would appreciate it if reviewers raised it directly to the journal editor immediately.
Reviewers should make an overall publication recommendation by selecting one option from the following:
When the manuscript is presented clearly and accurately; the method is designed without flaw based on up-to-date means, and described sufficiently in detail; the conclusion is supported strongly by the data; the research makes a significant contribution to the field; and there are no grammatical mistakes or poor/inaccurate expression.
When the manuscript is scientifically sound but needs a number of basic corrections in terms of expressing and/or supplementing details; the experiment design is flawless and conclusion is well supported.
When the theme of the study could be interesting and important to the field, but it needs to be re-evaluated and justified after further explanations or data are provided. Reviewers should provide specific comments on the key weakness of the manuscripts. Usually the reviewer is expected to review the revised manuscript and make a second recommendation, unless the reviewer leaves the decision to the journal editor.
When the manuscript contains any confirmed misconduct(s), methodological flaw, lacks an original contribution, or substantial details are missing.
Reviewers should provide solid comments or reasons in support of their recommendation, which editors and authors will refer to when making their decision or request for revision. It should be noted that academic editors make their final decision with reference to all reviewers' comments and based on their own expertise. They may fully adopt, partly adopt or not adopt one or more reviewers' comments. When making a decision conflicting with reviewer recommendations, the editor will justify their decision.
We fully recognize that reviewers and their volunteer review work are vital for maintaining our publication quality. We recognize their hard work and vital contribution. Currently, as a reviewer you can get:
What is Publons?
Publons helps researchers to track a more complete record of their research contributions, including peer review work and editorial affiliations. Researchers can track and publish their peer review contributions even if their reviews are anonymous and the manuscripts are never published.
If you have any questions when reviewing a manuscript or using the online review system, please feel free to contact the journal's editorial office. Our editorial staff will be more than happy to assist.