Watch the latest Publications webinar for early- and mid-career investigators to sharpen their reviewing skills: “Journal Peer Review: Tips for Writing an Effective Evaluation.” Join Deborah Veis, M.D., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of JBMR® Plus, to learn how to write effective reviews of the manuscripts submitted to ASBMR journals and beyond. We will cover the entire editorial process, and highlight the input editors value most from reviewers. The discussion can help you become a highly rated reviewer as well as a better author.
Guide for Reviewers
All articles that are published in JBMR® and JBMR® Plus are peer reviewed – both by the Editors and by external specialists chosen by an Associate Editor assigned to the manuscript. The Editors and the authors appreciate the incredibly useful feedback provided by reviewers to help improve a submitted paper. Reviewing provides you with privileged access to research results and opinions, and allows you to improve and inform articles that are subsequently published. Your comments and those of other reviewers are also shared with all reviewers and Editors after a decision has been made, and these can provide additional information and outside perspectives in your area of expertise.
Process of Reviewing
Reviews are managed and submitted online via the ScholarOne submission system. The author will submit a paper for consideration and this is checked in by administrative staff to ensure that all elements (figures, supplements, etc.) have been included in the submission. After this step, the manuscript is sent to the Editor-in-Chief.
In most circumstances, the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) assigns an Associate Editor (AE) and a Deputy Editor (DE) to manage the peer review process for the manuscript. These individuals are chosen based on clinical, basic, or translational subject matter expertise. At this point, the Editors may decide to triage the manuscript (reject without full external review) or send it out for peer review.
The AE assigns and invites Editorial Board members or outside experts who are best suited to evaluate the submitted paper. The reviewers make their recommendations to the AE, who then makes a recommendation to the DE and the EiC. The EiC makes the first and final decision on the manuscript, which can include revisions or rejection.
Author names are revealed to reviewers, but reviewer names are withheld from the authors; this is known as single-blind peer review. This method is used to ensure that reviewers can provide a candid assessment of the manuscript without external pressure or fear of retaliation. However, reviewers have the option of disclosing their names in the Narrative Assessment to the Authors box if they desire to do so.
Reviewers are expected to maintain strict confidentiality. Reviewers have privileged access to articles, so we ask that you don’t disclose that you are reviewing a paper to anyone except the editors and Editorial Office staff. Importantly, reviewers must not disclose any information about the article or its contents in any circumstances before publication. JBMR® and JBMR® Plus manuscripts, reviews, and editor comments are not to be shared with other parties or used by reviewers. Under special circumstances, reviewers can consult with a colleague, but these requests should be sent to the Editor first. The practice of “ghost reviewing,” that is having someone else, sometimes a junior colleague or lab member, perform the review in the name of the assigned reviewer, is not acceptable, unless participation of such a colleague or trainee to the review process has been discussed with and approved by the Editors.
What should reviewers look for?
When you review an article, please keep the JBMR® and JBMR® Plus readership in mind. The journals publish highly competitive original manuscripts, reviews, and special articles in basic and clinical science relevant to bone, muscle and mineral metabolism.
Be alert to possible ethical issues
Reviewers should look out for duplicate publication as well as plagiarism. Sometimes this will be spotted because you have been asked to review a paper that you reviewed elsewhere. “Ghostwriting” occurs when there is substantial writing assistance that is not disclosed.
Plagiarism is often detected through software we use during the submission process, but it can also be detected by alert reviewers who are most familiar with the material. Additionally, images can be manipulated using image editing software in ways that may falsify the original data or even fabricate data. Be alert for possible instances of image duplication, changes in color shading or dubious use of cropping. For immunoblots or similar types of electrophoresis-based protein or nucleic acid separation methods, look for possible undue erasures, changes to background areas or band details, or adjustments of band intensity, or even band flipping or change in aspect ratio.
Please visit this site for some Office of Research Integrity (ORI) "Forensic Images Samples" for eight examples of ways you can quickly examine scientific images for possible problems, and a quiz for spotting image manipulation (PDF).
Reviewers are expected to evaluate and rate the following:
- Scientific Impact and Quality of Work
- Data Quality and Rigor
- Presentation Style
Reviewers are also asked to give a Narrative Assessment for the Authors, which includes overall considerations and major and minor points for revision. Reviewers should also provide Confidential Comments to the Editors, with strengths, weaknesses, and final considerations.
What is Expected of Editorial Board Members?
JBMR® and JBMR® Plus Editorial Board members are expected to be active members in the ASBMR, as these volunteer leader positions are only open to Society members.
Editorial Board members should respond promptly to review invitations and accept at least 66% of all invitations. This means that EB members will review between 5 and 15 manuscripts annually (the mean number of manuscripts reviewed last year was 8).
EB members should also complete reviews on time, returning a review no more than 14 days after accepting an invitation. The mean days to complete a review last year was 8 days, and most complete reviews in less than 11 days.
Reviewers should provide thorough but concise reviews
Reviewers should be guided by the recent JBMR article: "Editorial Peer Reviewers as Shepherds, Rather Than Gatekeepers" by Boerckel, J.D., Plotkin, L.I. and Sims, N.A.
Reviews should be fair and constructive – this is not a podium for pushing one’s point
Reviews should be a critical but impartial scientific and literary appraisal of the work presented, based on your expertise and knowledge
They should be written in clear and plain English – inflammatory or offensive language is not tolerated
Don’t review papers outside your expertise or if there are potential conflicts of interest
The ASBMR journals are partnered with Publons, a service that helps record, verify, and showcase peer review contributions. This is a great way to keep reviewer activity collected (across all journals), verified, and ready for use in promotion applications and on CVs.
Additional questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the ASBMR Business Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org for any information regarding reviewing or the journal Editorial Boards.