Asian Journal of Materials Chemistry is a peer-reviewed journal, and thus depends crucially upon the quality of the reviews of submitted articles made by a large number of independent reviewers. Your work given freely is crucial to this process. You have been approached to give an unbiased opinion. This document gives some guidance.
The three aims of the peer review are:
- To help select articles for publication in the journal, selection being based on:
- The scientific merit and validity of the article and its methodology;
- The relevance of the article to the clinical practice of rehabilitation;
- The interest of the topic to the clinical reader; and
- The understandability of the article itself.
- To improve the articles wherever possible.
- Which data and analyses should be presented, including suggesting further analyses
- Structure and presentation of the article (detailed comments are not necessary)
- To check against malfeasance within the scientific and clinical community
- Writing; plagiarism, duplicate publication etc
- Data; fabrication or alteration
- Ethical and legal; not respecting participants (undue risk or inducement)
The author worked hard to carry out and write up the research. A referee should:
- Give a reasonably quick reply (preferably within four weeks). If this is not possible please inform the editor as soon as possible. Authors are naturally impatient.
- Give adequate, clear reasons for any comments, suggestions or recommendations. References are not necessary but may occasionally help.
- Avoid personal bias, reading the paper for its own content.
- Be constructive, not destructive, suggesting ways of overcoming any criticisms made, or of otherwise improving the paper
- Read the paper as if blind to its origin if you (think) you know who wrote it
The reader of the journal
The readers of the journal will (or should) expect articles to have been scrutinised for major errors. Clinical rehabilitation is read by a very wide range of professions from a wide range of cultures and countries, with varying levels of expertise. Readers depend upon informed experts reviewing the paper. Therefore the referee should check that:
- The work is original (if it claims to be);
- The background information given in correct, reasonably complete and covers most relevant issues without undue (hidden) bias;
- The design of the study, and the logic of the arguments made are coherent;
- The authors discuss any weaknesses openly and adequately;
- The results are credible and internally consistent;
- The conclusions can reasonably be drawn from the results, and are credible;
- The references are appropriate and accurate (as far as you know or can judge).
The journal publishes articles ‘free’, and so the authors must be encouraged to be as succinct as possible. Please comment if:
- You think that the article can be shortened,
- You think that tables or figures are unnecessary,
- You have any other suggestions to shorten or improve the article.
Secondly, the journal wants to retain its reputation. It should avoid publishing articles that
- are scientifically invalid,
- are duplicate publications,
- seem to include or condone illegal or unethical behaviour,
- are disrespectful of others in any way
- are misleading or simply without content
An approach to reviewing a paper
Each reviewer develops their own approach to the task, and this editor does not wish to constrain his reviewers to any fixed format. Some suggestions are given here especially for those new to the job.
Your comments are anonymous, in that only the editor knows your identity. This allows you to be honest, but requires you to be polite and unbiased. Unless you request otherwise your comments will usually be sent to the authors with a covering letter. You and your co-reviewer will receive copies of my letter to the author and of each other’s review (anonymously).
When reading the paper please consider two perspectives:
- as a representative reader, considering whether you would read it and understand it.
- As a scientist, considering the validity of statement, and of the conclusions.
Both the author and the editor appreciate free-text comments because they draw attention to matters that concern you. It is helpful to start your free-text comments with a short summary (1-4 sentences; 2-5 lines) of the main message of the paper. This means that the editor can get a quick overview of the content of the paper, and it can also reassure the author that you have understood the article.
After that you may choose the approach that you find best both for yourself and given the paper and its content. When making comments please draw attention to any major ambiguities or errors in writing, but you do not need to make detailed editorial comments on grammar, spelling etc.
In order to help you, a series of specific questions are given below. These may help you in thinking about the paper. They offer you a structure that probably applies to most papers, though certainly not to all papers. They also offer you the opportunity to score the paper on different aspects (and our web system offers an easy method for recording scores). However you are not obliged to use either these headings or the scoring system. It is for guidance only.
If giving a score, note that:
- For each question the default is ‘x’ which means that you think the question does not apply, or you do not want to give a score for that question.
- Otherwise please choose a number between 0 and 10, where 0 is the worst and 10 the best.