Peer Review Process

The peer review process

The peer review process can be broadly summarized into the following steps:

-    Manuscripts Submission

-    Editorial Office Assessment

-    Invitation to Reviewers

-    Response to Invitations

-    Review is Conducted

-    Review Completed

-    Journal Evaluates the Reviews and Decision

-    Acceptance Manuscript and transfer it to publication.

The following table include the suggested duration of the manuscript from submission:

Initial Editorial Decision 7 Days
First Revision Report 21 Days
Manuscripts Acceptance 60 Days
Publication xxxx Days
Number of Reviewers 2 Reviewers
Number of Peer-Review Rounds 2 Rounds

 Refereeing and reviewing flaw

The main objective of research reviewing is to assure its compatibility with scientific research norms and its authenticity.

The journals adopts double-blind system of refereeing; to avoid bias, the manuscript is sent to two reviewers without any clues that could lead to identifying the author. In addition, the author is not informed about the reviewers. The letter of reviewer invitation includes a statement that any conflict of interest should be reported. In such case, the reviewer should decline to review such manuscript.

When a reviewer starts his task, the first step is to examine the title carefully. Title should gave a primary impression about the work objective, its assumptions and questions in addition to the approach used to answer such questions. If the reviewer make is convinced that these components are not in harmony, then he got the impression that the work is not well designed and reject the work.

However, if the reviewer is convinced that the above mentioned components are in harmony, then he started reading the introduction, including previous work citation, to make sure the author is well aware of the developments in the subject matter that direct him to proper planning and execution of the research.

The next step is a primary reading of the materials and methods section. The reviewer must be sure that the used techniques are suitable to answer the research questions. The reviewer must be convinced that there are no bias in planning and conducting the work. This is of special importance particularly if the work was sponsored from a firm or a special interest group.

If the manuscript passes the previous steps, then the reviewer switches to the results and discussion section. The method of presenting data can influence the reviewer's decision. Sometimes the author repeats the same data by presenting it in more than on method (by tables, figures, or wording). In such cases, the reviewer might suggest the use of one method or simply request that the author should concentrate on presenting promising level of treatment (not all levels of a treatment).

Such fault is mostly present in experiments based on questionnaires. Some researchers tends to repeat the questions listed in the materials and methods section while presenting results, then repeat it again when discussing it. In this case, the reviewer can ask of excluding the repeated statements for short. He also may advise to divide the results and discussion section into two separate sections.

If the author used a single section for the results and discussion, then the reviewer should be able to detect the authors’ explanation of the obtained results. A major fault that is repeated by many workers is to mention its superior treatments without explaining the scientific reason/s of such superiority. Such reasons must be supported by previous work and sometimes with basic sciences information and references.

It is recommended that the statement “this finding is similar to the findings of x and Y” as this implement that the work a parallel research not original.

The author’s ability to successfully present the reasons for differences or similarities of the treatments effects is the key that leads the reviewer to positive evaluation of the authors’ scientific background.

A major problem detected by the reviewers is the tendency of some authors to neglect intentionally certain results that might contradict with their conclusions, present conclusions without supported results, or only selecting the results that fits their perception. This means bias discussion that contradicts with a main principle of scientific research (being unbiased when planning and conducting the research).

If the reviewer in not convinced with the presentation of the result and discussion, he/she might ask for rewriting the whole section, he should include his comments about any problems detected in such section. 

Types of problems in the manuscript and the suggested decisions for such cases*

The following table is designed to assist the reviewers in making their decision

Problems that leads to rejection of manuscript
1 Plagiarism
2 Poor originality
3 Parallel research
4 Using old or unsuitable techniques
5 Formulating biased unsuitable questions for a questionnaire
6 Formulating conclusions that are not supported by results
Problems that requires major corrections and rereading by reviewer
1 Incompatibility of title and work problem and objectives
2 Missing a component from the abstract (importance, methods, main results, conclusion or recommendations)
3 Mismatch of Arabic and English abstracts
4 Ignoring mentioning the importance of problem in the introduction
5 Poor linguistic formation of the whole work
6 Unrelated or too old citations
7 Unclear explanation of methods section, or too detailed explanation of well known methods
8 Plagiarized discussions and conclusions
9 Repeated presentation of the same results (table, graphical, and wording0
10 Presenting results without commenting or discussing it
Problems that requires minor corrections and does not require rereading by reviewer
1 Typing errors
2 Citations with methods other than Harvard method (last name and year)
3 Not following hierarchy order of presenting information ( not following the order in methods section when presenting results)
4 Using improper keywords

* For more information, see Fonseco (2013). 

Fonseco, M. (2013). Most common reason for Journal rejections. Retrieved on 12- 12-2013 from