Guidelines for reviewers

 

Why review?

As a peer reviewer you are helping to advance science within your subject area by providing crucial feedback to authors. Your review is vital to improving the quality and scientific standard of papers submitted to and published in Veterinary Evidence, and so you are playing a very real part in progressing your area of research.

By taking on this role not only are you sharing your expertise with others, but you will have the opportunity to read and critique new and emerging evidence and research, which will help you to improve your own writing and research skills.

Your review will also help authors improve their own writing as well as helping editors to make informed decisions on papers – and by conducting a review you are also gaining CPD!

Peer-review model

Manuscripts submitted to Veterinary Evidence undergo an open peer-review process. The name of the author(s) is revealed to the reviewers and the reviewers’ names are published alongside the paper - with the aim that this will encourage an unbiased and transparent critique of papers. Reviewer comments are not published.

How to become a reviewer

To give back to your area of expertise and to help it progress, you can become a reviewer for Veterinary Evidence by either contacting us or registering here, don’t forget to include your reviewing interests.

How and why were you invited to review a paper?

Papers are submitted to Veterinary Evidence via our OJS PKP submission system. All submissions are initially screened by the editorial team to ensure they fit within our submission criteria. The Editor-in-chief will then check each submission to ensure the paper is within the aims and scope of Veterinary Evidence and is of a quality which warrants being sent out for formal peer-review. If papers do not meet this initial quality control step then these papers are rejected.

Papers which progress through the process are then assigned to an Associate Editor who invites a minimum of two reviewers per paper.

Associate Editors search our pool of registered reviewers within our OJS system. If you have been invited to review a paper for Veterinary Evidence then you were selected from this pool by our Associate Editors based on the subject expertise that you included when you registered.

Should you review the paper?

Before accepting an invitation to review, you should ask yourself the following 3 questions:

  1. Is the paper within your field of expertise?

The abstract of the paper, along with reviewing instructions, is within the invitation email so that you can decide whether you have the necessary expertise to conduct an insightful and useful review of the paper. Please decline to review should you not have the relevant expertise.

  1. Do you have a conflict of interest?

Upon invitation, reviewers are asked to declare any conflicts of interest.

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) states that:

The potential for conflicts of interest can exist whether or not an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion.

As a reviewer you should therefore ask yourself if there is anything that may bias your judgement when performing the task required. If so, you need to state this within your declaration of interest.

If you are currently employed at the same institution as any of the authors or have been a recent collaborator (defined as people who have co-authored a paper or were a principal investigator on a grant with any of the authors within the past 48 months) then please decline to review the paper.

You should not agree to review a manuscript just to gain sight of it with no intention of submitting a review, or agree to review a manuscript that is very similar to one you have in preparation or under consideration at another journal.

If you are unsure about a potential competing interest that may prevent you from reviewing, do raise this with the Managing Editor.

All disclosures of potential conflicts of interest are reviewed by the Editor-in-chief in order to determine whether there is any potential for bias. 

  1. Do you have the time to review it?

Veterinary Evidence will be very grateful for a prompt response, even if it is to decline the invitation, as this means we can then send out a new invitation and avoid delays.

Veterinary Evidence requests that reviewers try and meet the deadline, but we also understand busy workloads. If you are interested in conducting a review but are unable to meet the due date, please accept the invitation and request an extension.

If you can’t – do you know someone who can review it?

If you are unable to accept the invitation to review based on any of the above reasons, then Veterinary Evidence would be grateful if you could suggest an alternative reviewer.

Ethical peer-review

As a peer reviewer you have a responsibility to conduct your review ethically. Please take the time to read through the information below as well as the ethical guidelines recommended by the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE).

Reviewers must not:

  1. Deliberately delay the reviewing process
  2. Contact the author directly
  3. Impersonate someone else in order to conduct the review
  4. Use knowledge of the work they are reviewing before its publication to further their own interests
  5. Agree to review a manuscript just to gain sight of it with no intention of submitting a review
  6. Agree to review a manuscript that is very similar to one a reviewer has in preparation or under consideration at another journal
  7. Agree to review but pass it onto someone else to complete on your behalf

Conducting your review

Peer reviewers provide their comments via our open source article submission system, OJS.

Within the invitation email you will receive instructions on how to submit your review.

First steps:

  1. Read the invitation email and decide whether you can review the paper
  2. Accept or decline the invitation to review
  3. Read through these ethical guidelines  https://publicationethics.org/files/Ethical_guidelines_for_peer_reviewers_0.pdf
  4. Read through the paper in its entirety

The reviewer form

You are required to fill in the reviewer form provided by Veterinary Evidence. This is to help you format and write your review. 

Track changes on document

You are also given the option to edit the paper itself using track changes and to upload this to the system along with the form and your recommendation.

We ask that you:

  1. Raise any suspicions of plagiarism or ethical misconduct with the editorial office  
  2. Provide appropriate feedback in a language and style that is sensitive, objective and unbiased
  3. Exhibit good judgement and provide a fair assessment of both the paper’s strengths and weaknesses which the author can use to improve their paper
  4. Provide feedback on the science of the paper – you do not need to focus on the grammar as the paper will be copyedited and proofread by the in-house copy editors should the paper be accepted
  5. If you feel the paper should either be rejected, revised or accepted please back up your recommendation with reasons why
  6. Refrain from one word answers and provide feedback that you would be happy to receive and that will help the editors in making their overall assessment of the paper

What happens to the paper after you submit your review?

The assigned Associate Editor reads through all of the reviews and reviewer recommendations and makes their own informed recommendation based on these comments. If the Associate Editor recommends that the paper requires a revision then the author is sent the reviewer comments for them to revise their paper.

When the author uploads their revised version the same reviewers are invited for round two. This is when we ask the same reviewers to look over the revised version to see if the author has adequately amended their paper as per their original review.

If the Associate Editor recommends ‘accept’ or ‘reject’, then the paper and reviewer comments are sent to the Editor-in-chief for their final decision on the paper. If a further revision is needed then the process starts again.

After a paper is accepted

All accepted submissions are copyedited by our in-house editors. This stage is vital in the publication of papers in Veterinary Evidence as copyediting ensures that language is clear and precise and ensures the structure of the paper is logical and free of any ambiguities or anomalies. Along with other queries, authors may be required to provide further detail within their paper or rewrite sections of text for clarity. The paper is then proofread to ensure there are no grammatical or production errors.

If a paper which you review is accepted, then your name is published alongside the paper. Your review is not published.

Blogs

Read our blogs and gain an insight into the peer-review process from the authors', reviewers' and Editors' perspectives:

Peer review: what is it and why do we use it?

The benefits of peer review: Q&A with Veterinary Evidence authors 

Peer review week: Q&A with Veterinary Evidence reviewers

Pros and cons of different models of peer review 

 

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