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Reviewer guide

Review processes

Manuscripts that appear to be scientifically valid upon initial assessment will be sent for formal peer review, at least for three reviewers by managerial editor or associate editor. After receiving reviewer reports at least from two reviewers, the editorial board member will make one of the following decisions:

  • Accept outright

  • Request a minor revision, where authors revise their manuscript to address specific concerns

  • Request a major revision, where authors revise their manuscript to address significant concerns and possibly undertake additional work

  • Reject outright

Upon resubmission of a revised manuscript, the editorial board member may wish to ask the original reviewers for further advice. The editorial board member, therefore, request that reviewers are willing to provide follow-up advice as requested. But editorial board member will not send resubmitted papers to reviewers if it seems that the authors have not made a serious attempt to address the reviewers' comments.

Selecting reviewers

Reviewer selection is critical to the review process, and it is the responsibility of editorial board members to choose appropriate reviewers. Their choice is based on multiple factors, including expertise, specific recommendations, and previous experience. The editorial board members can invite personally a researcher who is expert in the subject area or search from the online author databases and invite. Invitations to review a manuscript are confidential.

Writing the review

The primary purpose of the review is to provide our editorial board members with the information needed to reach a decision. It should also instruct the authors on how they can strengthen their manuscript to the point where it may be acceptable for publication.

Reviewers should be mindful that they are assessing the manuscript on technical soundness and scientific validity. This refers to justification of the research question, methods and analysis. The research question must be objectively justified through literature review and the methods must be appropriate and properly conducted. The conclusions drawn must be also fully supported by the data. The journal editorial board members ask that reviewers do not assess the importance or significance of a paper - the research community will make this judgment after publication. The review should consider the following questions:

  • Is the paper technically sound?

  • Are the claims convincing? If not, what further evidence is needed?

  • Are the claims fully supported by the experimental data?

  • Is the statistical analysis of the data sound?

  • Does the availability of data adhere to the expected standards of your research community?

  • Are the claims appropriately discussed in the context of the previous literature?

  • If the manuscript is unacceptable in its present form, does the study seem sufficiently promising that the authors should be encouraged to consider a resubmission in the future?

  • Is the manuscript clearly written? If not, how could it be made more accessible?

  • Are they any special ethical concerns arising from the use of animals or human subjects?

Please note that it is HAJHBS policy to remain strictly neutral with respect to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations, and the naming conventions used in maps and affiliation are left to the discretion of authors. Reviewers should not, therefore, request authors to make any changes to such unless it is critical to the clarity of the scientific content of a manuscript.

Confidentiality

Editorial board members and reviewers must treat the review process as strictly confidential, and not discuss the manuscript with anyone not directly involved in the review. It is acceptable to consult with subject area expert, but we ask that they are identified to the editorial board member. Consulting with experts from outside the reviewer’s may also be acceptable, but please check with the editorial board member before disclosing the manuscript, to avoid involving anyone who may have been excluded by the authors.

Review timing

The journal editorial board members are committed to providing rapid editorial decisions and publication, and they believe that an efficient editorial process is a valuable service both to our authors and to the scientific community. Therefore, the journal editorial board members ask reviewers to provide a report promptly; ideally within 15 days of receiving a manuscript, but this may be extended by prior arrangement. If reviewers anticipate a delay, the journal editorial board ask them to inform the editorial board member so we can keep the authors informed and, where necessary, to find alternative reviewers.

Anonymity

We do not release reviewers' identities to authors or to other reviewers, except when reviewers specifically ask to be identified. The journal editorial board prefer that reviewers remain anonymous throughout the review process and beyond.

We ask reviewers not to identify themselves to authors without the editorial board member's knowledge. If they wish to reveal their identities, this should be done via the publishing office. We deplore any attempt by authors to confront reviewers or determine their identities. We neither confirm nor deny any speculation about reviewers' identities, and the journal Editorial Board encourage reviewers to adopt a similar policy.

Editing reviewers' reports

As part of our editorial policies, journal editorial board do not edit reviewer reports and any comments that were intended for the authors are transmitted, regardless of what journal editorial board may think of the content. On rare occasions, journal editorial board may edit a report to remove offensive language or comments that reveal confidential information about other matters. The journal editorial board ask the reviewer to avoid comments that may cause needless offence but authors should recognize that criticisms are not necessarily unfair simply because they are expressed in robust language.

Competing interests

The journal editorial board aim to respect the requests of our authors to exclude specific board members or reviewers. We also try to avoid reviewers who have recent or ongoing collaborations with the authors, who have commented on drafts of the manuscript, who are in direct competition to publish the same finding, who the journal Editorial Board know to have a history of dispute with the authors, or who have a financial interest in the outcome. It is not possible for the editorial board to know of all potential biases, so the journal Editorial Board ask reviewers to draw attention to anything that might affect their review, and to decline invitations to review in cases where they feel unable to be objective.

The journal editorial board recognize, however, that competing interests are not always clear-cut, and the above circumstances need not automatically undermine the validity of a report. The people best qualified to evaluate a paper are often those closest to the field, and a skeptical attitude towards a particular claim does not mean that a reviewer cannot be convinced by new evidence. Editorial board members try to take these factors into account when weighing reviewers' reports. Reviewers who have reviewed a paper for another journal might feel that it is unfair to the authors for them to re-review it for HAJHBS.

 

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