The reviewer report should comprehensively critique the submission and consist of much more than a few brief sentences. Spring Library does not require a specific structure for reports, however, a suggested format is:
- Major issues
- Minor issues
We encourage reviewers to help authors improve their manuscript. The report should give constructive analysis to authors, particularly where revisions are recommended. Where reviewers do not wish authors to see certain comments, these can be added to the confidential comments to the Academic Editor.
While expectations vary by discipline, some core aspects that should be critiqued by reviewers may include:
- Are the research questions valid?
- Is the sample size sufficient?
- Is there necessary ethical approval and/or consent and was the research ethical?
- Are the methods and study design appropriate for answering the research question?
- Do the experiments have appropriate controls?
- Is the reporting of the methods, including any equipment and materials, sufficiently detailed that the research might be reproduced?
- Are any statistical tests used appropriate and correctly reported?
- Are the figures and tables clear and do they accurately represent the results?
- Has previous research by the authors and others been discussed and have those results been compared to the current results?
- Are there any inappropriate citations, for example, not supporting the claim being made or too many citations to the authors’ own articles?
- Do the results support the conclusions?
- Are limitations of the research acknowledged?
- Is the abstract an accurate summary of the research and results, without spin?
- Is the language clear and understandable?
To help authors receive timely reviews, reviewer reports should be submitted via the manuscript tracking system on or before the agreed deadline. Reviewers should contact Spring Library team if they are unable to meet the deadline so an alternative date can be arranged.
We encourage reviewers to focus their reports on objectively critiquing the scientific aspects of the submission, including the soundness of the methodology and whether the conclusions can be supported by the results. Comments may also be given on novelty and the potential impact of the work. At the end of their review, we ask reviewers to recommend one of the following actions:
- Publish Unaltered
- Consider after Minor Changes
- Consider after Major Changes
- Reject: Manuscript is flawed or not sufficiently novel
However, it is important to note that the overall decision will be made by the Academic Editor.
Spring Library does not mandate the use of reporting guidelines by authors, however, we encourage reviewers to use relevant reporting guidelines to help assess the submission. The EQUATOR Network provides clinical guidelines, while FAIRsharing list clinical and general science guidelines. We particularly encourage the use of:
- CONSORT for randomized controlled trials
- TREND for non-randomized trials
- PRISMA for systematic review and meta-analyses
- CARE for case reports
- STROBE for observational studies
- STREGA for genetic association studies
- SRQR for qualitative studies
- STARD for diagnostic accuracy studies
- ARRIVE for animal experiments
Manuscripts under peer review should be strictly confidential. Reviewers must not share manuscripts or discuss their content with anyone outside the peer review process.
Reviewers may, on request, consult with colleagues from their research group trusting that the confidentiality of the manuscript is maintained. Reviewers should first contact Spring Library or the Academic Editor handling the manuscript and note the name of the colleague(s) in the ‘Comments to the editor’ section of their report.
Reviewers will be anonymous to the authors unless they choose to disclose their identity by signing the review report.
Reviewers should decline to review a submission when they:
- Have a recent publication or current submission with any author
- Share or have recently shared an affiliation with any author
- Collaborate or have recently collaborated with any author
- Have a close personal connection to any author
- Have a financial interest in the subject of the work
- Feel unable to be objective
Reviewers must declare any remaining interests in the ‘Confidential’ section of the review form, which will be considered by the editor.
Reviewers must declare if they have previously discussed the manuscript with the authors.
Reviewers are encouraged to comment on authors’ declared conflicts of interest. If there are concerns that authors have not fully disclosed financial, institutional, commercial, personal, ideological, or academic interests, this should be raised in the reviewer report.
We appreciate applications to join our community of peer reviewers. Our Academic Editors select reviewers on a manuscript-by-manuscript basis. In each case they invite the most appropriate scientists from their own network or via our recommendation list. To ensure we have your up-to-date contact details, interested reviewers should register for a user account.