Peer Review Process

Overview

The Reviewer is invited by email to review a submission, which includes its title and abstract, as well as the journal's URL and a username and password for the Reviewer to use to enter the journal. The journal has the option of using a reviewer option that sends the submission as an email attachment to the Reviewer along with an invitation to review. In this case, the Reviewer then responds by email. What is described here is the principal method for reviewing (and ensuring complete records of the process), which involves the Reviewer conducting the Review on the journal's web site.

 

Online manuscript review

We are using Open Journal Systems (OJS) for online review process. We ask peer-reviewers to submit their reports via our secure online system by following the link provided in the editor's email. More details for reviewers can be found in Chapter 15: Reviewing

 

Criteria for publication

In general, to be acceptable, a paper should represent an advance in understanding likely to influence thinking in the field, with strong evidence for their conclusions. There should be a discernible reason why the work deserves the visibility of publication in our journal.

We are publishing the name of the section editor to be transparent to our authors, reviewers and readers.

Details of the submission criteria and peer review process are provided also in the Guide to Authors.

 

The review processes

All submitted manuscripts are read by the editorial staff. Only those papers that seem most likely to meet our editorial criteria are sent for formal review. Those papers judged by the editors to be of insufficient general interest or otherwise inappropriate are rejected promptly without external review.

Manuscripts are sent for formal review, typically six reviewers are assigned per manuscript. Section editors then make recommendation and Editor-in-Chief makes final decision based on the reviewers' and section editors’ advice, from among several possibilities:

  • Accept submission
  • Revisions Required
  • Resubmit for Review, but indicate to the authors that further work might justify a resubmission
  • Resubmit Elsewhere
  • Decline Submission, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems
  • See Comments

Reviewers are welcome to recommend a particular correction directly on the manuscript which can be attached along with the decision letter. We try to evaluate the strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors. Our primary responsibilities are to our readers and to the scientific community. We may return to reviewers for further advice.

 

Selecting peer-reviewers

Reviewer selection is critical to the publication process, and we base our reviewer selection on many factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations, and our own previous experience of a reviewer's characteristics (we select referees who are quick, careful and provide reasoning for their views, with high reviewer rating, and whether robustly critical or forgiving).

We check with potential reviewers before sending them manuscripts to review. Reviewers should bear in mind that these messages contain confidential information, which should be treated as such.

We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Authors are strongly encouraged to consider gender identities, racial/ethnic groups, geographical regions, and other groups when providing suggestions for peer reviewers.

 

Writing the review

The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with the information needed to reach a decision, but the review should also instruct the authors on how they can strengthen their paper to the point where it may be acceptable. A negative review should explain to the authors the major weaknesses of their manuscript, so that rejected authors can understand the basis for the decision and see in broad terms what needs to be done to improve the manuscript for publication.

Confidential comments to the editor are welcome, but they should not contradict the main points as stated in the comments for transmission to the authors.

Reports do not necessarily need to follow this specific order but should document the referees’ thought process. All statements should be justified and argued in detail, naming facts, and citing supporting references, commenting on all aspects that are relevant to the manuscript and that the referees feel qualified commenting on.

It is our policy to remain 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. Referees 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.

 

Timing

Our journal is committed to rapid editorial decisions and publication, and we believe that an efficient editorial process is a valuable service both to our authors and to the scientific community. We therefore ask reviewers to respond promptly within the number of days agreed (usually two weeks). If reviewers anticipate a longer delay than previously expected, we ask them to let us know so that we can keep the authors informed and, where necessary, find alternatives.

 

Anonymity

We do not release referees' identities to authors or to other reviewers unless a referee voluntarily signs their comments to the authors. To increase the transparency of the reviewing process, reviewers may sign their reports, if they feel comfortable doing so.

We ask reviewers not to identify themselves to authors while the manuscript is under consideration without the editor's knowledge. If this is not practicable, we ask authors to inform the editor as soon as possible after a reviewer has revealed his or her identity to the author.

We deplore any attempt by authors to confront reviewer or determine their identities. Our own policy is to neither confirm nor deny any speculation about reviewers' identities.

 

Double anonymized peer review

We offer a double-anonymized peer review option. Authors who choose this option at submission remain anonymous to the referees throughout the consideration process. The authors are responsible for anonymizing their manuscript.

 

Editing referees' reports

As a matter of policy, we do not suppress reviewers' reports; any comments that were intended for the authors are transmitted, regardless of what we may think of the content. We ask reviewers to avoid statements that may cause needless offence; conversely, we strongly encourage reviewers to state plainly their opinion of a paper. Authors should recognize that criticisms are not necessarily unfair simply because they are expressed in robust language.

 

The peer-review system

It is editors' experience that the peer-review process is an essential part of the publication process, which improves the manuscripts our journal publish. Not only does peer review provide an independent assessment of the importance and technical accuracy of the results described, but the feedback from referees conveyed to authors with the editors' advice frequently results in manuscripts being refined so that their structure and logic is more readily apparent to readers.

Our journal is appreciative of its peer-reviewers, of whom there are many tens of thousands in our database. It is only by collaboration with our reviewers that editors can ensure that the manuscripts we publish are among the most important in their disciplines of scientific research. We appreciate the time that reviewers devote to assessing the manuscripts we send them. Many submitted manuscripts contain large volumes of supplementary data and other material, which take time to evaluate. We thank our reviewers for their continued commitment to our publication process by verifying their reviews in our official partner Publons.

 

Official partner of Publons

Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences is official partner of Publons (https://publons.com/journal/417338/open-access-macedonian-journal-of-medical-sciences/). Reviewers can verify their reviews in our journal by using Publons Reviewer Recognition Plugin. This plugin enables integration with Publons Reviewer Recognition Service. The journal can present top handling editors on Publons (Manuscripts handled), Editorial board members on Publons, and top reviewers on Publons (Manuscripts reviewed in last 12 months). Reviewers can verify editorial board memberships, verify editor records, and verify reviews for different journals.

With the partnership with Publons we intend to increase the quality of the review process and to offer more transparency and support to our reviewers.

 

Peer-review publication policies

All contributions submitted to Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences that are selected for peer review are sent to six, selected by the section editors. Authors are welcome to suggest suitable independent reviewers. The journal sympathetically considers such requests and usually honors them, but the editor's decision on the choice of referees is final.

Editors, authors, and reviewers are required to keep confidential all details of the editorial and peer review process on submitted manuscripts. The peer review process is confidential and conducted anonymously; identities of reviewers are not released. Reviewers must maintain confidentiality of manuscripts. If a reviewer wishes to seek advice from colleagues while assessing a manuscript, the reviewer must consult with the editor and should ensure that confidentiality is maintained and that the names of any such colleagues are provided to the journal with the final report. Regardless of whether a submitted manuscript is eventually published, correspondence with the journal, referees' reports and other confidential material must not be published, disclosed, or otherwise publicized without prior written consent. Reviewers should be aware that it is our policy to keep their names confidential and that we do our utmost to ensure this confidentiality. We cannot, however, guarantee to maintain this confidentiality in the face of a successful legal action to disclose identity.

We reserve the right to contact funders, regulatory bodies, journals, and the authors’ institutions in cases of suspected research or publishing misconduct.

 

Ethics and security

Journal editors may seek advice about submitted papers not only from technical reviewers but also on any aspect of a paper that raises concerns. As in all publishing decisions, the ultimate decision whether to publish is the responsibility of the Editor-in-Chief.