Before accepting an invitation to review, you should ask yourself the following three questions:
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. Please decline to review should you not have the relevant expertise.
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 conflict of interest and bias exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients' welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest.
Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable, the ones most often judged to represent potential conflicts of interest and thus the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. Other interests may also represent or be perceived as conflicts, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs.
Accessed December 2021
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 anyone who has co-authored a paper or was 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, nor agree to review a manuscript that is very similar to one you have in preparation or under consideration with 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.
Do you have the time to review it?
Veterinary Evidence would be 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 cannot – 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.