Peer Review Process
Criteria for Publication
SCIENTIA JOURNALreceive many more submissions than they can publish. So, to be published in this journal, a paper should meet four general criteria:
- Provides strong evidence for its conclusions.
- Novel (we do not consider meeting report abstracts and preprints on community servers to compromise novelty).
- Of extreme importance to scientists in the specific field.
- Ideally, interesting to researchers in other related disciplines.
In general, to be acceptable, a paper should represent an advance in understanding likely to influence thinking in the field. There should be a discernible reason why the work deserves the visibility of publication in this journal.
The Review Process
All submitted manuscripts are read by the editorial staff. To save time for authors and peer-reviewers, 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 (although these decisions may be based on informal advice from specialists in the field).
Writing the Review
The primary purpose of the review on this SCIENTIA JOURNAL 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. As far as possible, 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 elsewhere. Referees should not feel obliged to provide detailed, constructive advice regarding minor criticisms of the manuscript if it does not meet the criteria for the journal (as outlined in the letter from the editor when asking for the review). Referees should be aware that authors of declined manuscripts may request that referee comments be transferred to another journal where they can be used to determine suitability of publication at the receiving journal.
Confidential comments to the editor are welcome, but it is helpful if the main points are stated in the comments for transmission to the authors. The ideal review should answer the following questions:
- Who will be interested in reading the paper, and why?
- What are the main claims of the paper and how significant are they?
- Is the paper likely to be one of the five most significant papers published in the discipline this year?
- How does the paper stand out from others in its field?
- Are the claims novel? If not, which published papers compromise novelty?
- Are the claims convincing? If not, what further evidence is needed?
- Are there other experiments or work that would strengthen the paper further?
- How much would further work improve it, and how difficult would this be? Would it take a long time?
- Are the claims appropriately discussed in the context of previous literature?
- If the manuscript is unacceptable, is the study sufficiently promising to encourage the authors to resubmit?
- If the manuscript is unacceptable but promising, what specific work is needed to make it acceptable?
SCIENTIA 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 as a whole. We, therefore, ask reviewers to respond promptly within the number of days agreed. 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.
We do not release reviewers' identities to authors or to other reviewers, except when reviewers specifically ask to be identified. Unless they feel strongly, however, we prefer that reviewers should remain anonymous throughout the review process and beyond. Before revealing their identities, reviewers should consider the possibility that they may be asked to comment on the criticisms of other reviewers and on further revisions of the manuscript; identified reviewers may find it more difficult to be objective in such circumstances.
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. On rare occasions, we may edit a report to remove offensive language or comments that reveal confidential information about other matters. 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 journals 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.
Reviewing Peer Review
The goals of peer review are both lofty and mundane. It is the responsibility of journals to administer an effective review system. Peer review is designed to select technically valid research of significant interest. Referees are expected to identify flaws, suggest improvements and assess novelty. If the manuscript is deemed important enough to be published in a high visibility journal, referees ensure that it is internally consistent, thereby ferreting out spurious conclusions or clumsy frauds.