Guidelines for Reviewers

General Responsibilities of Reviewers

This journal uses a double-blind peer review process. Reviewers should NOT disclose their identity. The peer review and editorial process is facilitated through an online editorial system and a set of email notifications. The online editorial system sends the Reviewer a review request, initiated by the Subject Editor or the Editorial Office. The online system will also send reminders and will confirm a successful review submission. The email notifications contain stepwise instructions about the actions needed at each stage along with the link to the respective manuscript.

Reviewers are not expected to provide a thorough linguistic editing or copyediting of a manuscript, but rather focus on its scientific quality and overall style, which should correspond to the good practices in clear and concise academic writing. If Reviewers recognize that a manuscript requires linguistic edits, we shall be grateful for them to inform both the Author and the Subject Editor about this in the report. It is the Author’s responsibility to submit the manuscript in linguistically and grammatically correct English. It often happens that even carefully written manuscripts may contain small errors in orthography or stylistics. We shall be thankful if Reviewers spot such errors during the reading process and correct them. Reviewers are also asked to declare any conflicts of interest.

Each manuscript will generally be reviewed by two or three experts with the aim of reaching a first decision as soon as possible.

Reviewers are asked to start their report with a very brief summary of the reviewed paper. This will help the editor and the authors see whether the reviewer correctly understood the paper or whether a report might be based on misunderstanding.

Reviewers are then asked to judge the manuscript on the following criteria:

  1. Novelty score (How novel is the idea / the software capabilities?) or Response score for Response papers (does the response present novel and complementary arguments or opposing views to the original paper?)
  2. Feasibility/likelihood/applicability score for Perspective and Response papers (does the idea/hypothesis arise from or is supported by rigorous arguments? Is the idea or hypothesis testable? Is the new concept, term or definition useful?) or Methodology score for Research papers, Rapid communications and Horizon scanning papers (is the methodology used/analysis conducted scientifically sound?) or Utility score for Software description (Is the software responding to a well identified need? Is it likely to be used by the scientific community?)
  3. Scholarship score (the authors demonstrate good knowledge and appropriate use of the current literature)
  4.  Literacy score (English, grammar, clarity and logical flow reaches publication standard)

In addition to the written review, Reviewers are asked to respond to a short questionnaire that serves as a Reviewer’s checklist and ensures a standardised, comprehensive review.

When possible, the final decision is made on the basis of the peer reviews. In cases of strong disagreement between the reports or between the Authors and Reviewers, the Subject Editor can assess these according to his/her expertise or seek advice from a member of the journal's Editorial Board.

The ultimate responsibility for editorial decisions lies with the respective Subject Editor and/or with the Editor-in-Chief. All appeals should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief, who may decide to seek advice from the Subject Editors or the Editorial Board.

During a second review round, reviewers may be asked to evaluate the revised version against their recommendations submitted during the first review round.

Reviewers should be polite and constructive. Reports that may be insulting or uninformative will be rescinded.


Stepwise Description of the Peer Review Process

  1. This journal uses a double-blind peer review process. Reviewers should NOT disclose their identities. 
  2. The Reviewer receives a review request generated by the Subject Editor or the Editorial Office and is expected to either agree to provide a review, or decline via online editorial system.
    Note: The link to the respective manuscript is available in the review request email and all consequent reminder emails.
  3. The review should be submitted through the Proceed button. The review consists of:
  • a simple online questionnaire to be answered by ticking the YesNo, Moderately or N/A;
  • comments addressed to the Author and the Subject Editor in the online form;
  • associated files (corrected/commented manuscript file, review submitted in a separate text file, etc.), if any.
  • Note: Reviewers can insert corrections and comments in the manuscript review version (PDF) and/or in the manuscript text file (usually Microsoft Word). When working in the PDF, please use either the Text Edits or the Sticky Notes tools (available through the menu Tools -> Comments & Markup of the Acrobat Reader). When editing in Microsoft Word please use the Track Changes / Comments tools.
    Note: Associated files should be submitted at the end of the review process by clicking on the Browse button, then selecting the respective file on your computer, and then pressing the Upload button.
  1. The review process is completed by selecting a recommendation from five options:
  • Reject;
  • Reject, but resubmission encouraged;
  • Major Revision;
  • Minor Revision;
  • Accept.

The system will ask for one more confirmation of the selected recommendation before submission. The submitted review cannot be changed after submission.
Note: Reasons for rejection can be a low scientific quality, non-conformance to the journal’s style/policies, and/or grammatically poor English language.

  1. Once a Reviewer submits a review of a manuscript, he/she receives an acknowledgement email from the journal.
  2. The submission of the review is also automatically reported to Publons. Reviewers are asked to confirm whether they want their reviews to be recorded on Publons.
  3. When all Reviewers have submitted their reviews, the Subject Editor makes a decision to either accept, reject or request further minor/major revision.
  4. After the Subject Editor's decision, the manuscript is sent back to the author for comments and further revision.
  5. Reviewers are notified via email when the revised version of a manuscript they have reviewed is submitted by the author. They receive a link to the revised version along with the editorial decision and all reviews of the manuscript. Reviewers are also provided with a feedback form should they have any comments on the revised version. 
  6. When an article is published, all Reviewers who have provided a review for the respective manuscript receive an email acknowledgement. In the email, there is a link to view/download the published article.
  7. A Reviewer may always access information on the manuscripts that are being / have been reviewed by him/her through the menu My Tasks.