The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada relies on peer reviewers to help assess papers submitted for publication. The Editor-in-Chief makes the final decision to accept or reject each manuscript, but because reviewers are experts in the subject area, their recommendations are key.
- Be specific.
If we tell the authors that the numbers in their tables don't match the numbers in their Results section, they'll probably be able to figure out why; if we just tell them there are inconsistencies, they may never even see the problems (and we might not see what you see).
- One or two sentence reviews are not helpful to the author.
We know you've already given a great deal of time and care to reading and considering the paper, but even if you're recommending we accept it without change or that we reject it outright, we need a few sentences to help us (and the author) understand why.
- Remember you're not alone.
We ask three people to review most papers, so let us know if there are things you're not sure about (maybe the stats): probably one of the other reviewers has that area covered.
- Don't worry about the writing.
We've asked you to review the paper because you're a subject expert; the editorial staff will correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but they can't offer an assessment of the research.
- Send your comments through Manuscript Central at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jogc. Although we're happy to have your responses no matter how they get here, using Manuscript Central makes the process much faster and more efficient for the editorial staff and the authors.
For more information, please refer to Information for Reviewers.
Why have you asked me to review this manuscript?
You're an expert in the paper's subject, or you have other specialized skills or knowledge that equip you to make a fair and accurate assessment of the paper. If we're mistaken (if we have you listed as an expert in X but you're really one of the three people worldwide who know about Y and you haven't thought about X since medical school), please let us know. You can reach us at email@example.com or at 604-875-2424 ext. 5668.
What if I can't do the review?
Please tell us as soon as possible (respond via the link in the invitation email, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 604-875-2424 ext. 5668). That's it. If you don't want us to send you manuscripts to review for a few months or until further notice, let us know. If you'd prefer not to review manuscripts on certain subjects—or by certain authors—add that information to your profile on Manuscript Central at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jogc.
We depend on our reviewers, so we want to make the process as easy and agreeable as possible. Please talk to us; tell us what you need. We seldom bark, and we almost never bite.
Should I put my comments into the manuscript or use "track changes" to show my corrections?
No. Please don't do that. We want to protect the anonymity of our reviewers, and we want authors to have the benefit of a clear and complete summary of their comments and suggestions. Using track changes (or writing on hard copy) jeopardises your anonymity and can make it difficult for the authors to understand your concerns or suggestions. Also, it's difficult for both reviewer and author not to bog down in detail when you work in the manuscript.
But shouldn't I correct spelling and grammar mistakes?
It's very kind of you to offer, but we ask a lot of our reviewers already; we don't expect you to do the tidying up as well. If you see obvious mistakes things that are bothering you (particularly those you think we might not know or ones that come up again and again) by all means make a note. JOGC's editors will correct the mistakes and infelicities of grammar and usage if the manuscript is accepted, but they can't provide an expert assessment of the study and its presentation—that's why we have you.
How should I submit my recommendations?
Through Manuscript Central, please. You should receive instructions for logging in to your reviewer centre when you agree to review a manuscript. If you don’t, please contact us at email@example.com or at 604-875-2424 ext. 5668; we usually respond pretty quickly and we're really quite nice people.
I sent you a review recommending against publication of a manuscript and citing my reasons in some detail. Last month, the paper was published. What's the point of my spending time on a review when you ignore my recommendations?
It happens very seldom, but occasionally we do publish a paper that a reviewer has recommended we should reject outright.
When there is strong disagreement among reviewers, the author may be asked to make extensive revisions before the paper is sent to additional reviewers. Sometimes, papers are published because they make a sufficiently important contribution to offset their shortcomings (which we ask the authors to make explicit).
Usually, we will contact the dissenting reviewer(s) to explain our reasons. If we've neglected to do so, contact us: we need to hear about it when we get it wrong. We're at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-875-2424 ext. 5668.