), accept with minor edits (addressing typos, unclear sentences, or a small figure edit), accept with major edits (addressing bigger issues such as changes to introduction scope, interpretation of results, additional graphs or analyses) or reject (if the manuscript was not novel at all, not suitable for the scope of that journal, or contains plagiarism or other questionable practices).Most of the papers I have reviewed were classified as "accept with major edits"; I have selected the "reject" category less often.Elisabeth Bik is a Research Associate at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University's School of Medicine.
Your peer review will go into the section labeled "comments to the authors" - often by simply copy/pasting it into the appropriate box.
Even if I think a paper should be rejected, I like to share my thoughts about the manuscript here, so that the authors can improve their paper before submitting it somewhere else.
While I go through the paper, I will start to write down more general thoughts as well, such as remarks about the length of the introduction or a misinterpretation of results.
After reading the whole paper, I will then re-read the abstract to see if it correctly captured hypothesis, experiments, results and interpretation.
Once you have written your review, you will have to upload it into the journal's reviewer interface.
Most of them will have a box where you can assign the paper to one of 4 categories: accept without edits (only to be selected if you reviewed The Perfect Paper!On the other hand, you do have the right to ask the authors to make primary data publicly available, perform some small and easy additional experiments or analysis, or change the layout and order of their graphs.Depending on the scope of the journal, it is however not reasonable in most cases to ask the authors to do large amounts of additional work.It took years of practice to be comfortable enough to suggest more serious edits to other people's manuscripts, such as flaws in the design of the study, lack of controls, and over-interpretation of results. To help the inexperienced peer-reviewer, I've made a list of general questions to ask when you are reading the paper.Even now, many years and about hundred peer reviews later, I am still not always sure if my reviews strike the right balance between being critical and fair. Asking these questions should help you form an opinion about the paper, even if you have no idea where to start.It is a nice way to get recognition for all the work we peer reviewers do, mostly anonymously.In addition, it is great to compare my acceptance rate and length of peer reviews to that of others, and to have a feel for how many reviews other scientists perform, and for which journals. Peer review is a great way to become a better scientist.Typically, a manuscript will be sent out to about 3 reviewers, so as a rule-of -thumb you should perform 3 times more reviews than the amount of manuscripts you typically submit per year. Once you have peer-reviewed for a journal, the journal will ask you again, but usually only once or twice a year.The more papers you have published, the more requests you will get. I'll try to only have 2 ongoing peer reviews at the time; if I get more requests, I will turn them down until I have finished the previous ones.In your review, the most important thing to keep in mind is to remain friendly and reasonable.You should feel no regret publishing your review under your full name.