Peer Review: What Do Reviewers Look for in Your Manuscript?

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  Aug 22, 2017   Enago Academy
  : Peer/Technical Review, Publication Stages
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Peer review is an important part of the publishing process. Reviewers look for accuracy, timeliness, and appropriateness of the manuscript that can greatly affect the chances of publishing your research. Apart from these, reviewers check for the scientific merits of the manuscript, its methods, and research misconduct (if any).

Peer review process ensures that the manuscript is easy to comprehend, lacks any gap areas, and is significant in the research field. It also ensures that the research findings are valid and reliable.  Without an effective peer review process, the manuscript cannot withstand the standards of scientific knowledge, resulting in dissemination of false or flawed knowledge.  Here, we will look at the different aspects that reviewers look into while scrutinizing your manuscript.

What Peer Reviewers Look For

It can take between 10 days to 12 weeks for a manuscript to be published in a scientific journal and peer review process takes most of the time. Good peer reviewers look for various aspects of the manuscript that they deem necessary for publication. For all research articles, usually, three aspects must be satisfied: originality, importance of the work to the readers, and scientific reliability.

The originality of a scientific article rests on conceptual novelty because it adds substantially to the scientific knowledge. Thus, manuscripts that present original knowledge will have a higher chance of making it through the peer review process. In terms of originality, the peer reviewer will need to answer whether your work adds enough to what is already published in the literature. If so, what does your work add? Does it add new knowledge or does it expand on what is already known? When it comes to its importance to the readers, does your work matter to clinicians, policymakers, and scientists? Does it matter to educators or patients? Will it help readers make better decisions? If so, how? Is the specific journal you submitted your manuscript to the appropriate place for it?

Scientific reliability, on the other hand, can be assessed by the various parts of your paper. The structure and format of a peer-reviewed manuscript contain several parts that need to be reviewed. Is your research question clearly defined and is it appropriately answered? Is your study design appropriate and is it effective enough to answer the research question? In terms of your participants, are they adequately described and are they representative of the condition you were trying to study? Are your methods adequately described? Are your main outcome measures clear? Did your results answer the research question? Are your interpretations and conclusions focused on and derived from the data? Are your references current and relevant? Are there any glaring omissions? Furthermore, does your abstract/summary accurately reflect what your paper says? Taking all of these into consideration will determine the results of the peer review process.

 Putting It All Together

The peer review process is not without its challenges. However, peer review is integral to scientific integrity and is critical for scientific publications. The process aids in building a collective knowledge base and in communicating information. Therefore, when submitting your manuscript for peer review, keep in mind that there are many steps involved before publication. A manuscript will undergo several stages of editing and review before it is ready for publication. Peer review is just one of the stages of publication.

Final Thoughts on The Process

Peer reviewers will look at different requirements before determining the suitability of your manuscript for publication. It was shown that 96.77% of peer reviewers do it to help others, and you can be sure that peer reviewers will be glad to provide you with constructive comments for your manuscript. In addition to this, the peer review process will ensure that your manuscript will be polished and ready for publication in the soonest possible time.

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