Guidelines for Reviewers
Peer-review and Editorial policy
All submissions to AboutOpen are initially screened by the Editorial Office, who performs an initial technical check based on the manuscript being a) suitable for the journal and its sections, b) with a sound author background and c) complete in all its parts. If it is not deemed appropriate it will be rejected immediately. The Editorial Office will also perform a thorough plagiarism check using iThenticate by CrossCheck.
Submissions are then assigned to a a Section Editor who is in charge of selecting and inviting reviewers, evaluating their comments and submitting an editorial suggestion.
AboutOpen adopts a single-blind peer review process, which means that the author does not know the identity of the reviewer, but the reviewer knows the identity of the author: reviewers are asked to supply confidential comments and recommendations which will only be visible to the Editor and comments for the authors which are shared in an anonymous way. We invite reviewers and allow 7 days for them to agree or decline to perform the review, asking to return their comments within 2 to 4 weeks from acceptance. We do not allow authors to suggest reviewers or name unwelcome reviewers. A final decision on the submission is made by the Editor in Chief, who will inform the Authors. Accepted submissions are copy-edited by experienced professionals, typeset and proofed by the authors before publication.
The Journal and the Publisher are in agreement that any advertising or commercial revenue will in no way influence Editorial decisions.
Potential Conflicts of Interests
Please inform the editor promptly if you believe there is conflict of interest between your work and the manuscript you are being asked to review.If there is a conflict of interest this does not exclude you entirely form reviewing a certain manuscript, but you should make sure to disclose any potential conflict to the Editor
Performing your review
You should always conduct your review objectively. Direct personal criticism is not appropriate and your views should always be supported by clear argumentations. Your comments should always be polite and constructive.
Upon being asked to review you should consider three basic points prior to accepting to review:
- does the topic fit in your personal area of expertise? Only accept an invitation to review if you are competent to review the topic presented
- can you dedicate time for reviewing the article within the set timeframe?
- Can you foresee conflict of interest between your work and that of the authors you should be reviewing?
Reviewing a manuscript must always be treated with confidentiality. You should not disclose or discuss the manuscript with colleagues. If you feel a paper is really unacceptable be brief, but offer a few constructive comments and criticisms.
When performing your review, consider the following points as a guidance:
- Does the title describe the article?
- Is the sample size adequate?
- Does the article support or contradict previous theories?
- Prospective is better than retrospective. Larger sample sizes are better than smaller. Longer follow up is better than shorter.
- For all papers, it is important to explain inclusion and exclusion criteria.
- Is there IRB approval? Are there other ethical or regulatory issues? Conflict of interest issues?
- Is the content in correct sections of the manuscript? So, are discussion comments in the results section or are methods and results comments mixed up?
- Are tables and figures as clear as they can be? Are they all needed? Material should not be duplicated. If the authors give data in a table, it need not be reiterated in the text or vice versa.
- References should include pertinent material and need not be encyclopedic. Did the authors select the appropriate material to cite?
Plagiarism: if you suspect that an article is a substantial copy of another work,please let the editor know, citing the previous work in as much details as possible.
Fraud: it is very difficult to detect the determined fraudster, but if you suspect the results in an article to be untrue, discuss it with the editor;
Other ethical concerns: for medical research, has confidentiality been maintained? Has there been a violation of the accepted norms in the ethical treatment of animal or human subjets? If so, then these should also be identified with the Editor.
Be polite with the authors
Always remember that your comments will help authors to improve their skills and expertise: even if you think a paper should be rejected, your comments will help the authors to improve their next efforts. Spend some time to offer constructive criticisms and please be polite with your comments; consider how you would feel reading the criticism as an author.
Grammar and language issues
Many authors are writing in a second language. The writing must be excellent when the paper is finalized, but we can review papers with poor writing as long as the science is understandable. All accepted papers are subject to a thorough language editing.
Submitting your comments
Once you have completed your evaluation of the manuscript, you canproceed with submitting your commentsto the Editor. If you might be delayed, do let the Editor know and arrange for a deadline extension.The review form is structured inthree separate areas:
A) Text boxes to enter comments to the authors and confidential comments to the Editor.
B) The manuscript rating card, based on the following criteria:
80–100: Excellent. Decision is accept as is or with minor changes. Only few manuscripts can be included in this rating.
60–79: Above average manuscript. Decision is usually accept with minor changes with a really moderate revision
40–59: Average manuscript. Most of these manuscripts may be accepted or can be rejected depending on space
20–39: Below average manuscript. Most likely to be rejected, unless a high priority topic that can be improved after one or more revisions
1–19: Unacceptable manuscript — Most likely to be rejected, unless a high priority topic that can be improved after one or more revisions
C) An area where you can upload a file you maylike to share with authors
D) A drop down menu for your recommendation:
Resubmit for review