Reviewer Guidelines

These Guidelines for peer reviewers complies with the COPE’s Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors. Science Postprint recommend peer reviewers to refer to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers before accepting and starting peer review.

Science Postprint has two types in peer review procedure, Traditional Peer Review and Post Publication Peer Review (PPP). Traditional Peer Review is a traditional way of peer reviewing, in which we offer single-blind peer review. Post Publication Peer Review is an innovative peer review procedure in which we offer an open peer review environment.
Reviewers who are invited for Post Publication Peer Review (PPP) are asked to comply with the Specific Guidelines for PPP Reviewers, which should be given the first priority to Basic Guidelines for Reviewers and Editorial and Publishing Policy. For items that are not especially stated in the Specific Guidelines, reviewers should refer to the Basic Guidelines and the Policy.

Basic Guidelines for Reviewers

  1. Competing Interests
  2. Confidentiality
  3. Peer Review Period
  4. Declining Peer Review
  5. Declining Peer Review after Agreement
  6. Peer Review Policy
  7. Peer Review Criteria
  8. Disclosure of Peer Reviewers and Peer Review Comments
  9. Utilization of Peer Review Information
  10. Rewards for Peer Reviewers

Specific Guidelines for PPP Reviewers

  1. Application for a Peer Reviewer
  2. Competing Interests
  3. Criteria for Judgment
  4. Official Judgment and Final Evaluation
  5. Re-review
  6. Confidentiality

Help and Contact

Changes in Guidelines


Basic Guidelines for Reviewers

1. Competing Interests

In order to exclude any undue influence on a publication, reviewers must disentitle themselves to review any submitted articles if there is any competing interest. Competing interests include financial, professional, personal, intellectual, political or religious relationships. Science Postprint does not allow any author, reviewer, or editor to handle articles unless statement of declaration of competing interests is submitted. Reviewers must respect publication ethics and declare their competing interests.

When you are invited as a peer reviewer, please confirm that there is no competing interest between you and the authors. If any of the below 1) to 4) applies or if you are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest, please contact us to report it. Note that the competing interest is not limited to the circumstances described below. If it becomes clear that a peer reviewer failed to report such case that might be figured as competing interests, we may ask the reviewer to stand down even after he/she agreed to review.

a) Direct or significant indirect contact
If you have worked in a same institute as one or some of the authors, worked in a same project, or undertook a joint study in the last five years, it might be regarded as a competing interest. Those who may have a known history of antipathy with the authors might be regarded to have a competing interest. In case that you do not have a direct contact but have an indirect one, please inform our editorial office about your position clearly.

b) Financial interests
If the submitted work is by a researcher that belongs to a business enterprise, and you own equities of it, or you are or will be funded by the author’s society or company, it might be regarded as a competing interest. It might be a case of competing interest when a patent related relationship is found. Another possible case is that your institution have a direct competition with the author’s.

c) Employment relationship
If the submitted work is studied by a business enterprise researcher, and you have a recent or anticipated employment agreement with them, it might be regarded as a competing interest.

d) Same stage work
If the submitted work is very similar to your own work which is in preparation or under consideration in another journal, it might be regarded as a competing interest.

2. Confidentiality

The reviewers should keep articles and related information confidential. Reviewers must not retain the article for their personal use and should destroy them after submitting peer review comments. Reviewers must not publicly discuss nor appropriate the idea of the article.

A peer reviewer should not involve anyone else in the peer review of the article without prior acceptance and permission form Editorial Office. Anyone who has helped the peer review should be reported in the letter to the Editorial Office and should be credited for the contribution.

3. Peer Review Period

Since Science Postprint is an open access journal, which places importance on quick reporting, we appreciate the first peer reviewing period of two weeks. Time frame for the re-review is one week. Please notify us in advance if more time is required. Please understand that if a reviewer failed to report even after the expected timeframe, we might invite another researcher to the peer review instead.

4. Declining Peer Reviewing

Please do not hesitate to decline peer review invitation if there are competing interests, there are schedule constraints, it is out of your field of expertise, or you are unable to review for any other reasons.
Please be informed that if our editorial office could not receive your acceptance/declination reply even after three days after the invitation for the reviewing, it may be treated as a declination.

5. Declining Peer Review after Agreement

As a general principle, for any reasons, peer reviewers cannot decline reviewing after the reviewing agreements. However, there may be some cases where the termination of the reviewers’ involvement in the reviewing process can be approved. If there should be a change in your environment and it makes you difficult to help us anymore, please contact our editorial office to discuss the issue.

Editorial office might ask a reviewer to stand down, if the reviewer could not make any response even after a week from a reminder email which is sent from the editorial office. In that case, our editorial office will immediately search for another/other appropriate reviewer[s].

6. Peer Review Policy

The primary aim of Science Postprint is to report on developments in medicine and science as quickly as possible, and accumulate academic information so that they can be linked to the next research or application to the industry. Therefore, any research that consists of credible data and includes new discoveries is considered to be suitable for publication in SPP.

7. Peer Review Criteria

An acceptable article for publication has to contain new findings with credible data and must have not been published in other journals. Therefore, reject papers that are wrong, or making dual publication. Dual publication includes dual submission and publication of translated article. However, papers which previously appeared or discussed at conferences, on preprint servers, in public database, blogs, wikis, and other ‘non journal’ venues can be accepted.

A peer review report evaluates the article, pointing out the problems in the paper if it lacks scientific reliability, reasoning and integrity. The judgment should be clearly stated. It could be acceptance, request for minor corrections, or request for major corrections. If it is supposed to take more than three months to make necessary corrections, it deserves rejection.

a) Evaluation for Research Article and Clinical Research
Reviewers are required to evaluate the submitted Research Article based on its originality. Research Article should contain substantial new findings and extensive analyses which advance the scientific field or add evidence to a proposed theory. The evaluation criteria are also the same for clinical study, which comprises Clinical Research. Any work that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes is defined as clinical studies.

On the contrary, in case of Case Report which is included in Clinical Research, extensive analyses may not be necessarily required. Case Report should be evaluated whether if it shares new clinical knowledge for the further investigations or for developing medical treatments. Significant information of unusual side effects or adverse interactions, rare diseases or events, unreported associations between symptoms, innovative way of diagnosis or managements is acceptable for publication. Reject papers that report usual well known cases. Insufficient description of the background of the patients, clinical tests and managements might be of concern.

For Clinical Research, declaration of ethics should also be checked. Obtaining informed consent and observance of the code of ethics of affiliated committee are required in case of animal research and human subject research.

When the article is finally accepted for publication, reviewers are asked to evaluate the final version in five point scales based on its potential for innovation, future advancement, and industrial usefulness, as well as comprehensive general evaluation. These evaluation points appear on the manuscript webpage, so that readers can see the objective judgments.

  • The criterion for general evaluation:
      5. expected to be cited over 300 times in the next 10 years
      4. expected to be cited over 150 times in the next 10 years
      3. expected to be cited over 75 times in the next 10 years
      2. expected to be cited over 30 times in the next 10 years
      1. expected to be cited less than 30 times in the next 10 years
  • The criterion for innovation: whether the paper includes new data or experimental methods and ways of thinking that have not previously been reported.
  • The criterion for advancement: whether the work contributes to the advancement of mankind.
  • The criterion for utility in industry: whether the work shows potential to be applied in products or services.

b) Evaluation for Review Article
Review Article should be evaluated based on whether if it comprehensively assesses related works and presents academic perspectives with extensive analyses.

When the article is finally accepted for publication, reviewers are asked to evaluate the final version in five point scales based on its originality, comprehensiveness, and industrial usefulness, as well as comprehensive general evaluation. These evaluation points appear on the manuscript webpage, so that readers can see the objective judgments.

  • The criterion for general evaluation:
      5. expected to be cited over 300 times in the next 10 years
      4. expected to be cited over 150 times in the next 10 years
      3. expected to be cited over 75 times in the next 10 years
      2. expected to be cited over 30 times in the next 10 years
      1. expected to be cited less than 30 times in the next 10 years
  • The criterion for originality: whether the research includes information or approaches that are not included in other reviews.
  • The criterion for comprehensiveness: whether the information contained in the paper is comprehensive with respect to the subject matter of the paper, or whether it is properly selective.
  • The criterion for industrial usefulness: whether the work shows potential to be applied in products or services.

8. Disclosure of Peer Reviewers and Peer Review Comments

The reviewers are not disclosed to the authors during peer reviewing period. However, after official acceptance, reviewers can choose between releasing their names, titles, and affiliations or not releasing them with the manuscript publication. The editorial office will ask the reviewers if they hope to publish their information when publication is officially decided.
Peer review comments by reviewers will be sent to the authors, but not disclosed to the general public. Evaluation grades (please see below for evaluation) given by referees are made open to the general public with some calculations.

9. Utilization of Peer Review Information

GH Inc., which is a publisher of Science Postprint is able to utilize all of the published information which is the names of the reviewers (in case the reviewer allowed to disclose his/her name) and peer review reports (in case of Post Publication Peer Review). Unpublished names, peer review reports, or affiliations of the reviewers, and emails or any other personal information which Science Postprint obtains during the peer review process are not disclosed to anybody. However, unpublished peer review reports will be utilized for data analysis, and the results may be used for services, assuring anonymity.

10. Rewards for Peer Reviewers

The peer review is an essential process for scientific publication in order to ensure fair and proper development of medicine and science. It will take a lot of time and effort even for an experienced researcher to peer review, and those comments play a practical role in improving the research itself and research presenting skill of the authors. The comments also contribute to the education of young researchers. Therefore, we would like to express our best gratitude to those peer reviewers, and think they deserve rewards. On the other hand however, rewards might results in the invasion of fair and proper evaluation which we can not accept. To ensure fair research evaluation, we decline to pay rewards for reviewers.

Specific Guidelines for PPP Reviewers

The aim of the Post Publication Peer Review is to speed up publication of research findings and to ensure the transparency of the peer review process. Submissions that pass through the internal check for the minimum standards for publication will be published and then reviewers will be invited for the article.
The peer reviewers examine the article in the same procedure as Traditional Peer Review, but Editorial Office publishes the peer review report at the end of the article web page as soon as the report is submitted. The reviewers are able to choose from disclosing or not disclosing their names and affiliations. If a reviewer prefers not to disclose his/her name, a nickname will be published.

1. Application for a Peer Reviewer

Science Postprint does not accept any application for a peer review of a particular article due to the risk of impersonation. Editorial Office invites appropriate reviewers for each article.

2. Competing Interests

Reviewers are required to submit their competing interests, and the statement will be published along with the peer review report. Details for the competing interests, please see Competing Interests in Basic Guidelines for Reviewers.

3. Criteria for Judgment

The criteria for evaluating articles in Post Publication Peer Review basically conform to the criteria for Traditional Peer Review (see Peer Review Criteria in Basic Guidelines for Reviewers), but a peer review report should clearly states the reviewer’s judgment of “approve/approve conditionally/not approve,” instead of “accept/minor revision/major revision/reject” in the Traditional Peer Review.

”approve”
Reviewer believes the article conveys new and significant findings/idea with valid data and it will contribute to the future study or industry without any change or correction in its idea, results or discussion. Correction request for a small number of minor errors like typos can be included.

”approve conditionally”
Reviewer believes that the article should be partially rewritten and reconstructed, but feels it still conveys an interesting idea. Therefore Reviewer thinks it can be approved if the concern is clarified.

”not approve”
Reviewer believes that the article is false, lacks novelty or originality, has failure in its scientific reasoning, or is involved in research or publication misconduct, and therefore does not think it should be approved.

4. Official Judgment and Final Evaluation

An article will be officially judged to be “Approved,” when two reviewers “approve” or one “approves” and two “approve conditionally.” Editorial Office asks the reviewers of officially “Approved” articles for final evaluation of the article. It is 5-point scale grading of the article of which the criteria is available in the Peer Review Criteria in Basic Guidelines for Reviewers.

5. Re-review

Editorial Office immediately invites reviewers for the re-review when the revision is published for the not yet “Approved” article. The file of the revised article that highlights corrected parts will be sent along with the invitation to the reviewers via email. Editorial Office does not check the correction whether if enough corrections are made based on the peer review reports, but it is not the case that the concern is related to publication or research ethics.
Peer review reports for the previous version continue to be accessible even after the publication of the peer review reports for the latest version of the article.
Authors may submit revision before all of the peer review reports are published. Even in such case, the reviewer who’s deadline for the peer review report comes later than the submission of the revision by the authors will be asked to continue the reviewing for the previous version, and the submitted review report for the previous version of the article is valid (authors should consider the report in the next revision).
Reviewers may occasionally be asked for re-review of the officially “Not Approved” articles. Science Postprint believes that even “Not Approved” articles should have a chance for being fairly assessed the correction, if the questioned problem was fundamentally improved or corrected. Therefore the author of the “Not Approved” article is allowed to submit revision in case that the “Not Approved” version is Original Version 1. When revision of once “Not Approved” article is submitted, Editorial Office check the correction if it deserves re-reviewing. If Editorial Office finds the revision not being sufficiently addressing the raised concern, the revision will be rejected, and re-review invitation will not be made. Reviewers have a right to decline the invitation if they did “not approve” the previous version.

6. Confidentiality

All of the peer review process is opened to the public in Post Publication Peer Review. Therefore, the confidentiality of the reviewers about the article and related information which should be kept in the traditional peer review process is not the case for Post Publication Peer Review.

Help and Contact

Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us. We will reply to you within three business days.

Changes in Guidelines

Anyone who is committed to the peer review will comply with the publication policy and the guidelines at the time of its submission even after amendment.

Previous updates
03/09/2015
10/14/2014
10/02/2014
04/25/2014
08/20/2015 Specific Guidelines for PPP Reviewers