We acknowledge and appreciate the collaboration of peer reviewers in ensuring the integrity and high quality of the papers published in our journals.
In this section, guidance and relevant information to reviewers (and potential reviewers). Please read on for more information on how to contribute constructive reviews that will stimulate discussions and the healthy development of scientific research.
IOS Press adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. Please reserve some time to read COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers (PDF) for broader guidance.
PEER REVIEW MODELS
Double-blind peer review
In the double-blind peer review model, the names and affiliations of the authors are not communicated to the reviewers, and the reviewers remain anonymous to the authors. Articles submitted to double-blind peer review must also exclude from the manuscript all information that might disclose the authors’ names or affiliations, for example, the name of the institution where the research was conducted, acknowledgments, and funding information.
Single-blind peer review
In the single-blind peer review model, the names and affiliations of the authors are communicated to the reviewers, but the reviewers remain anonymous to the authors. Reviewers invited to assess articles under the single-blind model must consider any possible conflict of interest before accepting to review (see "Conflict of interest").
Open peer review
In the open peer review model, the review reports may be published together with the articles. The names of the reviewers might be disclosed in the publication or not, depending on the journal policy and the willingness of the reviewers. Articles under review receive invited peer reviews, similar to the non-open peer review models described above. At the same time, they may be posted online for appraisal of other peers.
All articles available in the IOS Press Content Library are peer-reviewed articles, including those in pre-press mode. It is not always clear from the published paper which peer review model was used. The exceptions to this are articles that follow open peer review, as the reviewers’ comments may be supplied as Supplementary Material.
STEPS IN THE PROCESS
You were invited to review a manuscript
Before you accept or decline an invitation to review a manuscript, please read IOS Press Ethics Policy, and make sure that you have all the relevant information to make an informed decision. Check whether:
- The title and the abstract are clear enough for you to know if the article falls within your expertise and interest.
- The invitation comes from a journal operating under single-blind or open review model, that the names and affiliations of all authors are provided for the consideration of conflicts of interest.
- The deadline for submitting the review report is indicated.
After reading the title and abstract provided in the invitation to review, please consider if you have the necessary expertise to assess the manuscript and make constructive criticism. In case you think that the article does not match your expertise or interest, please decline the invitation and, if possible, suggest colleagues who might be interested in reviewing it.
Conflict of interest
If you are being considered as a reviewer for a journal operating under the single-blind or open review model, the names and affiliations of all authors will be disclosed to you in the invitation to review. If a potential conflict of interest impedes you from making an impartial scientific evaluation, please decline the invitation to review. Where possible, inform the editor about your reason for declining. If you have a conflict but feel that it does not prevent you from making a proper judgment, you must disclose the nature of this conflict in confidential comments to the editor. Conflicts of interest include but are not limited to: collaboration with the author(s) in the past 3 years; any professional or financial affiliations that may be perceived as a conflict of interest; or a history of personal differences with the author(s). Any disputes will be handled by the publisher according to COPE’s guidelines.
Finding reviewers is usually the most time-consuming step in the peer review process. When receiving an invitation to review a manuscript, please respond at your earliest convenience, even if you are declining it. If you are interested and feel qualified to review a manuscript, always be sure that you will be able to submit your review within the timeframe set by the journal. If circumstances change after you agree to review, please inform the journal as soon as possible if you will not be able to review or if you need an extension.
You accepted an invitation to review a manuscript
After accepting an invitation to review a manuscript, and depending on the editorial management system used by the journal for which you are reviewing, you may be asked to fill in a registration form. Please make sure to answer the mandatory questions as accurately as possible, which will improve the journal’s reviewer search in future. Before starting your review, please be sure to visit the author guidelines for the specific journal, which will help you set expectations about the article structure and format. You can find this information on each journal’s webpage.
Important note: Never contact the author(s) directly unless you have permission from the journal.
All documents shared with you during the peer review process must be treated as confidential unless otherwise stated (i.e., in the open peer review process). Reviewers should not make personal or professional use of the data or interpretations before publication (online or print) without the authors’ specific permission (unless you are writing an editorial or commentary to accompany the article). The review report must also be confidential and shared only via the peer review system used by the journal.
If while reviewing an article you suspect unethical behavior, immediately communicate it to the editor with a detailed explanation. Some examples of possible ethics violations are: high similarity with another article; suspicion of image manipulation; or citations unrelated to the paper.
Preparing the review report
While preparing your report, keep in mind that reviews should provide constructive criticism and always be respectful. You were invited to review an article because of your expertise in the field, hence, the focus of your review must be the article content. It is not expected that you review the paper format or language; however, if you think that either the manuscript does not follow the journal style or the language is too poor to make a good assessment, please include it in the report and in your comments to the editor. Some journals ask reviewers to make a recommendation (reject, revise pending major/minor revisions, or accept), which should be in line with the comments made in the review report.
You submitted a review report
Once you have submitted your report, please consider that if you have recommended revisions, you might be invited to review the revised article in the near future. The ability to have the same reviewers for resubmissions promotes discussion around the article, as it allows authors and reviewers to directly communicate via a secure environment for the improvement of the paper. Therefore, if you have reviewed a paper that gets revised, we strongly encourage you to contribute further during revision rounds.
CLAIM YOUR REVIEWER CERTIFICATE
Interested to review?
Let us know if you are interested in getting involved in journal peer review. Our editors will be delighted to hear from you. Please send a message, indicating which journal you are interested to review for (also add this to the subject line), and get in touch with our editorial team via this contact form.