Guidelines for Peer Reviewers

Complete a Peer Review

Peer review is a critical component of scholarly publishing. Quality peer reviews provide important feedback regarding the originality, scientific impact, quality, and appropriateness of a manuscript. The editor in chief uses peer reviews to make a decision regarding whether to publish a manuscript. To learn more about the peer review process and the JAOA's expectations of its peer reviewers, all reviewers and authors are invite to complete the peer review module.

Manuscripts submitted to JAOA are typically sent to 2 to 4 peer reviewers who are experts in the topic area of the manuscript. The JAOA uses a single-blind review system—in other words, the authors are revealed to the reviewers, but the reviewers remain anonymous to the authors.

Reviews must be completed within 10 business days using the JAOA’s online manuscript tracking system at Reviewers are discouraged from uploading Word documents marked with Track Changes because authors will be able to see who made the changes.

The JAOA recommends that peer reviewers take the following steps when reviewing a manuscript:

  • If there is a potential conflict of interest (eg, the author is a colleague of yours), contact JAOA staff.

  • Read the manuscript carefully. Often, authors complain that reviewers’ critiques give evidence of careless reading. Be objective in evaluating a manuscript and in writing your comments. Avoid acrimony. Test the critique for fairness and objectiveness by asking yourself if you would be willing to sign it and send it to the author.

  • Do not consider prevailing opinion infallible; you should not recommend rejecting an important paper because its conclusions are not in accord with current scientific orthodoxies.

  • If you answer Yes or No to a question, provide an explanation in the comments section. Be specific in your comments to the authors. A comment such as “This manuscript is too long” will not be helpful to an author of an excessively long paper. Provide specific directions for eliminating parts or for condensing others. Call attention to verbose or unclear writing.

  • Consider each section of the peer review form carefully and provide complete answers to all questions relevant to the manuscript. (Note that the JAOA peer review form was designed for original contributions; therefore, not all sections will be applicable to all submissions.)

  • Although you may feel inclined to edit the manuscript, it is more helpful for JAOA staff if you instead note that there are English problems and focus on the data, interpretation, and missing information. Keep in mind that JAOA manuscript editors will correct errors in grammar and rhetoric before an accepted manuscript is published.

  • The JAOA peer review form includes an area for confidential comments to the editor, such as concerns regarding study fabrication or plagiarism. The author will not receive any comments addressed confidentially to the editor.

  • Remember that the manuscript is the property of the author. It is a confidential communication. It may not be used by you or shared with anyone except JAOA editorial staff. If you have a colleague that you believe could provide valuable feedback, contact JAOA staff and they will send a review request to that person if appropriate.

(Adapted from the ACS Style Guide, 3rd edition)

[Updated March 16, 2015, ADL]

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