Reviewers are asked to provide a general assessment of the paper, to make a recommendation regarding acceptance, and to provide detailed, constructive comments using the main section headings of the paper, that will help the author(s) improve their manuscript. Where possible, reviewers should provide references to support their comments. All reviewer comments sent to authors will be in an anonymised form.

Reviewers are not expected to correct spelling and grammar; if accepted, the paper will be fully proof read and edited.

Reviewers should alert the editors if they suspect unethical behaviour in the conduct of the research or its reporting eg. plagiarism.

Reviewers should aim to keep to agreed deadlines wherever possible. If a reviewer anticipates a problem in meeting the deadline for returning a review, they should email as soon as possible.

Confidentiality: All manuscripts sent for peer review are confidential documents until formally published. Therefore, reviewers and members of the editorial staff must respect the authors’ rights by not publicly discussing the authors’ work or appropriating their ideas before the manuscript is published. Reviewers are not permitted to make copies of the manuscript for their files and are prohibited from sharing it with others, except with the editor’s permission. Reviewers should delete copies of manuscripts after submitting reviews.

Reviewers are asked to declare any competing or conflicting interests.


Guidelines for Recommendation

Minor revision: Recommended when the paper reports good research, but there are some minor issues requiring expansion or clarification.

Major revision: Recommended if, for example, additional controls are required to support the claims or the conclusion is not supported by the data, if further analysis is required that might change the conclusions, or if the methods used are inadequate or statistical errors have been made. If a study design cannot support the authors’ conclusions, it may be that some important or valuable messages can still be derived from the data, in which case, reviewers might suggest that a paper be rewritten as a short communication.

Rejection: Used for a study that is fundamentally flawed, extremely underpowered or adds no new knowledge.

Resubmission as short communication: Small studies reporting pilot data or novel ideas, or studies from developing countries that are not original but indicate good work, may be examples of papers suitable for resubmission as short communications.