Peer review guidelines

If you have accepted an invitation to complete a peer review for OpenPhysio, please ensure that you are familiar with our review policy. The main things to be aware of are that:

  1. You will work with the author/s of articles you agree to review, rather than simply sending them a list of changes.
  2. Author/s will be able to respond to your suggestions, and possibly challenge them.
  3. Your review will be publicly available and published alongside the final article.
  4. These public reviews will have DOIs assigned to them, making them citable objects that you can use as evidence of your scholarly contribution.

When you are ready to submit your review, login to your personal Dashboard (assuming you have already registered as a reviewer for the journal) and check that the article title in the Dashboard is the same as the one you agreed to review. Then select Add review.

Alternatively, you can choose Reviews -> Add New from the left-hand navigation panel, which will open the review editing dashboard. If you choose this option, make sure that you choose the article you are reviewing from the drop-down menu below the body text field.

You can either write your review directly in OpenPhysio or you can write it elsewhere and copy and paste it into the field as displayed below. Note that we require reviews to have titles, which helps with the citation requirements of your public review. A recommended format is “Review (Your surname) – Title of the paper you are reviewing”.

You can save a Draft of your review, as well as see a Preview of what it will look like before you Submit it (see the Publish section in the right-hand navigation panel). Because of the nature of the publishing platform, you are also able to embed media (audio, images, etc.) and hyperlinks to external sources into your review.

Peer reviews should include an in-depth and thorough evaluation of an article in order to help readers decide if it is scientifically sound, and that it meets academic standards. We have decided to implement an open and transparent peer review process, where reviewers guide and encourage authors to improve their articles. Authors will publicly engage the reviews in order to publish a revised version of the original article. This progressive discourse should happen in the open so that the process of scientific discovery is visible to all stakeholders. We encourage you to think of the review process as entering into a dialogue with the author where you see yourself as a critical friend who is intent on making sure that the best possible version of the article is published.

It could be argued that the outcome of most peer review is a matter of opinion and therefore subject to the influence of personal bias and conflicting agendas. In fact, there is ample evidence that the system is unreliable. You are being asked to give your own point of view on a scientific work for the purpose of deciding whether it should be accepted for publication and you may not always be aware of the biases that influence your decisions. As result, we encourage you to provide support for the points you raise in your review. If we expect authors to substantiate their claims with evidence, it seems reasonable that reviewers should do the same. Since your reviews will be published and eligible for inclusion as evidence of your scholarly activity, it is in your interest to ensure that they are comprehensive and your arguments well-developed.

If you are new to conducting academic peer review for OpenPhysio – or even if you have some experience but have never formally received any guidance – we would like to offer the following suggestions to keep in mind when conducting a review:

  • Be aware of your own biases and try to review the submitted version of the paper, rather than the version you think the author/s should have written.
  • “Signal jamming” is the process whereby reviewers make small blemishes look like major flaws. No article is perfect and authors should be given the opportunity to improve their writing if the methods and analysis are sound. In other words, if the problem can be addressed through editing then the author/s should have the opportunity to do so.
  • Complete your review as quickly as possible. Since articles in OpenPhysio are published immediately, we want to ensure that changes are made by the author as soon as possible. Two weeks is our goal for completing and submitting your review.
  • If you are in any doubt about your ability to review for the journal¬†contact the Editorial team and request a mentor. We want to ensure that you are comfortable reviewing for our journal and we see this as an opportunity to help less experienced colleagues develop their reviewing skills.

After completing – but before publishing – your review, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you believe in the contribution of the article to the body of knowledge in the discipline?
  2. Can the author/s improve the paper with relatively little effort?
  3. Could you be wrong with some of your suggestions?
  4. Would you be angry if you received this review yourself?