For Reviewers

This page provides information relevant for reviewers.

Overview of the Review Process

There are three phases in the publication process during which peer reviews are conducted.

  1. Validation phase: The lead reviewer performs an initial check of the article to verify that the article is generally suitable for the journal and does s/he considers it to be publishable after potential (minor or major) reviews meeting our quality criteria.
  2. Review phase: The lead reviewer will provide the first public review annotating the article. The article is now open for comments from peers and the wider public according to our guidelines for reviewers.
  3. Feedback phase: Even after acceptance of an article, a commentable version is accessible in the issue section allowing anyone to provide feedback to the paper.

During the review and feedback phase, the author will react upon comments and suggestions of the reviewers and make changes as necessary.

Conducting a Review

During our first few issues, we will utilize Google Doc and GitHub for feedback. You must have a Google account and GitHub account to provide comments to articles or workflows, respectively.

The username of a community reviewer shall contain the name of the reviewer and shall not be completely obfuscated. Firstly, this increases trust in the review and secondly, it allows the authors to acknowledge the contributions of the reviewer.

Generally, the reviewers should use the comment function to add information to the related sections. This may include minor suggestions such as spelling mistakes or requests for clarification and suggestions. The review format depends on the chosen template by the authors.

  • Google Doc Template: The reviewer’s section allows us to provide general feedback, the section is the last page of our Template. While we appreciate contributions to this section, it is optional. The contribution of minor comments is already welcome and valuable to improve manuscripts!
  • LaTeX template: The review should be performed on the Google Doc version of the LaTeX allowing for direct feedback. Similarly, when using the Google Doc template, there is a dedicated reviewer selection. This selection is included in the generated PDF to include publicly the feedback of the reviewer. The author shall not remove the review comments. The reviewer should update the review to incorporate major changes to the paper.

Note that the reviews are preserved forever and serve as testimony that the research in the paper is sound, therefore, be thorough and fair to your colleagues!

Reviews of the workflow must be conducted on the Git repository for the submission. The reviewer shall submit issues or a pull request with suggestions for the author to consider.

The process for accessing and providing feedback for the community reviewer and lead reviewer is described in the following.

Community Reviewer

Anyone can contribute to the review process of a paper, even researchers involved in oppositional research. Contributions made by a community reviewer can be small, e.g., stating that you liked the paper or just indicating some typos.

  • A community reviewer must request write permissions to the Google Doc. This is necessary because otherwise, Google Doc will only use “anonymous” as username.
  • It is at the discretion of the authors to provide either comment or full write access upon request.
  • The reviewer may directly interact with the author via the functionality provided in Google Doc.

Lead Reviewer

The lead reviewer is typically an expert on the respective paper topic(s) and responsible to guide the review process.

  • The lead reviewer is determined using a paper bidding process and assigned by the editorial office.
  • S/he performs the validation and conducts the initial review. During the initial review, s/he must ensure that the last page of the manuscript contains the reviewer section and must provide short replies to each of the subsections in the template.
  • Full write access to the manuscript will be granted allowing to make trivial corrections using “suggestion mode” directly and to provide feedback in the reviewer section.
  • Also, upon minor or major reviews, the lead reviewer shall check the modifications made by the author and update his/her comments accordingly.

We use the JHPS Manuscript Central for managing the basics reviews; a registration of additional community reviewers is optional!

Ethical Guidelines for Reviewers

The following considerations shall guide the interactions of any reviewer:

  • Feedback: Provide constructive feedback. Questions may help to guide the discussion, e.g.: The meaning of this sentence is not clear to me, does it mean X? Are you sure this experiment run with 10 nodes?
  • Honesty: Any reviewer providing feedback must provide honest feedback. We foster this by using open reviews with real usernames.
  • Conflicts of interest: If you feel you cannot be objective because you have a potential conflict of interest, you can still comment on the paper, but state the conflict in the first comment you make. You should be skeptical and double-check the appropriateness of any comment made.
  • Expertise: If you cannot judge certain aspects of the manuscript because they are outside of your expertise, leave it.