Child: Care, Health and Development

Cover image for Vol. 41 Issue 1

Edited By: Stuart Logan

Impact Factor: 1.832

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 31/65 (Psychology Developmental); 44/117 (Pediatrics)

Online ISSN: 1365-2214

For Referees

Reviewers play an essential role in assisting the editor decide which papers to publish, based upon a rigorous evaluation of their validity and quality. The advice of reviewers is always appreciated, even if the editor’s final decision differs from the recommendation. Authors also benefit from the constructive criticism they receive from reviewers and will often make substantial improvements to their papers based upon these comments. For these reasons reviewing submitted manuscripts is an important process and one that should be taken seriously by all.

Reviewers should endeavour to provide timely reviews that are both relevant and constructive. They should contact the editorial office immediately if they have any suspicions of author misconduct.

When you receive an invitation to review a submitted manuscript you should be sent a copy of the abstract; this will help you determine whether you wish to review the paper. Please try to respond to invitations promptly as this will help prevent unnecessary delays. If you feel that the topic of the paper is outside your area of expertise, or if you feel unable to devote the necessary time to review the paper, please let the editorial office know as soon as possible so that they can invite an alternative reviewer.  It is also important at this stage to declare any potential conflict of interests.

Review Scoresheet
Once you have agreed to the review, you will be given access to the paper and to the journal’s review scoresheet. The scoresheet will assist the way you structure your review.

The scoresheet will have two comments sections. The first, comments to editors, will only be seen by the editor and will not be sent to the author. You may use this space to document any issues that you feel are better kept secret. The second, comments to authors, will be seen by the authors and editor. These comments should be constructive and courteous.

You will also be asked to give a recommendation as to whether the paper should be accepted, rejected or revised before a further round of review.

As far as possible, a negative review should explain to the authors the weaknesses of their manuscript, so that rejected authors can understand the basis for the decision.

General Considerations
When reading the paper you should consider the following issues:

  • How suitable is the paper for the journal? Does the topic fit within the Aims & Scope of the journal?
  • How original is the topic? What does it add to the subject area compared with other published material?
  • Is the paper well written? Is the text clear and easy to read?
  • How relevant is the paper to its intended audience?
  • Are the conclusions of the paper valid? Does the evidence and arguments presented in the paper support the conclusions?
  • If the authors are disagreeing significantly with the current consensus, do they have a substantial case? If not, what would be required to make their case credible?
  • Does the author cite the important literature in this area? Are there significant omissions from the references?
  • If the paper includes tables or figures, what do they add to the paper? Do they aid understanding or are they superfluous?

Specific Issues
It is often helpful to start the review with a brief positive overview of the paper.  Then you would comment on parts of the paper. If you are recommending that the paper needs revision you should state what specific changes you feel need to be made. The authors can then reply to each point in turn.

You should identify:

  • Any places where meaning is unclear or ambiguous
  • Any factual errors
  • Any invalid arguments

You may also wish to consider:

  • Does the title properly reflect the subject of the paper?
  • Does the abstract provide an accessible summary of the paper?
  • Do the keywords accurately reflect the content?
  • Is the paper an appropriate length?
  • Are the key messages short, accurate and clear?

What is Not Expected
You are not expected to:

  • Correct grammatical and/or spelling mistakes
  • Check the accuracy of cited references

Ethical Considerations
Reviewers have a responsibility to adhere to ethical standards expected of their role. All information concerning authors and their papers must be treated in the strictest confidence. Reviewers should declare any conflict of interest when responding to invitations, and/or disqualify themselves from review if they feel unable to provide an objective assessment. If they have previously reviewed the same manuscript for another journal, the reviewer should notify the editorial office immediately.

Reviewers should not:

  • Accept invitations to review only to gain access to submitted papers for personal benefit
  • Contact any other individual about a paper they are reviewing
  • Reproduce information or any part of the manuscript under review in any of their own papers
  • Seek to delay the publication of the paper for personal gain
  • Use insulting or inflammatory language about the author or his paper
  • Request that the author cite their papers to increase their own citations
  • Contact the authors directly regarding their manuscript

We are very grateful to all our reviewers for their assistance, which is greatly appreciated