A reviewer responsibilities with scholarly journals
A reviewer’s plays a key role in scholarly publishing. Reviewers assess research article submissions to journals, based on the requirements of that journal, predefined criteria, and quality, completeness and accuracy of the research presented. They deliver comment on the article and the research, recommend improvements and make a recommendation to the editor about whether to accept, reject or request changes to the article. In addition to fairness in judgment and expertise in the field, peer reviewers have significant responsibilities toward authors, editors, and readers. Besides, reviewers have some improprieties by which a review process may be hampered.
Reviewer responsibilities toward authors
- Providing written, unbiased feedback in a timely manner on the scholarly merits and the scientific value of the work, together with the documented basis for the reviewer’s opinion
- Indicating whether the writing is clear, concise, and relevant and rating the work’s composition, scientific accuracy, originality, and interest to the journal’s readers
- Avoiding personal comments or criticism
- Maintaining the confidentiality of the review process: not sharing, discussing with third parties, or disclosing information from the reviewed paper
Reviewer responsibilities toward editors
- Notifying the editor immediately if unable to review in a timely manner and providing the names of potential other reviewers
- Alerting the editor about any potential personal or financial conflict of interest and declining to review when a possibility of a conflict exists
- Complying with the editor’s written instructions on the journal’s expectations for the scope, content, and quality of the review
- Providing a thoughtful, fair, constructive, and informative critique of the submitted work, which may include supplementary material provided to the journal by the author
- Determining scientific merit, originality, and scope of the work; indicating ways to improve it; and recommending acceptance or rejection using whatever rating scale the editor deems most useful
- Noting any ethical concerns, such as any violation of accepted norms of ethical treatment of animal or human subjects or substantial similarity between the reviewed manuscript and any published paper or any manuscript concurrently submitted to another journal which may be known to the reviewer
- Refraining from direct author contact
Reviewer responsibilities toward readers
- Ensuring that the methods are adequately detailed to allow the reader to judge the scientific merit of the study design and be able to replicate the study, if desired
- Ensuring that the article cites all relevant work by other scientists
Ethical Responsibilities of Reviewers
Confidentiality: Material under review should not be shared or discussed with anyone outside the review process unless necessary and approved by the editor.
Constructive critique: Reviewer comments should acknowledge positive aspects of the material under review, identify negative aspects constructively, and indicate the improvements needed.
Competence: Reviewers who realize that their expertise is limited have a responsibility to make their degree of competence clear to the editor. Reviewers need not be expert in every aspect of an article’s content, but they should accept an assignment only if they have adequate expertise to provide an authoritative assessment.
Impartiality and integrity: Reviewer comments and conclusions should be based on an objective and impartial consideration of the facts, exclusive of personal or professional bias. All comments by reviewers should be based solely on the paper’s scientific merit, originality, and quality of writing as well as on the relevance to the journal’s scope and mission, without regard to race, ethnic origin, sex, religion, or citizenship of the authors.
Disclosure of conflict of interest: To the extent possible, the review system should be designed to minimize actual or perceived bias on the reviewer’s part. If reviewers have any interest that might interfere with an objective review, they should either decline the role of reviewer or disclose the conflict of interest to the editor and ask how best to address it.
Timeliness and responsiveness: Reviewers are responsible for acting promptly, adhering to the instructions for completing a review, and submitting it in a timely manner.
- Misrepresenting facts in a review
- Unreasonably delaying the review process
- Unfairly criticizing a competitor’s work
- Breaching the confidentiality of the review
- Proposing changes that appear to merely support the reviewer’s own work or hypotheses
- Making use of confidential information to achieve personal or professional gain
- Using ideas or text from a manuscript under review
- Including personal or ad hominem criticism of the author(s)
- Failing to disclose a conflict of interest that would have excluded the reviewer from the process