Guide for Reviewers
All submitted manuscripts are reviewed by the editorial staff for their potential suitability. To save authors and referees time, only those manuscripts judged most likely to meet our editorial criteria are sent out for formal review.
Based on reviewers’ advice, the editor decides to:
- accept the manuscript, with or without minor revision; invite the authors to revise the manuscript to address specific concerns before a final decision is reached;
- or reject the manuscript, typically on grounds of insufficient conceptual advance or major technical limitations.
The most useful referee reports, therefore, are those that set out clear, substantiated arguments and concrete recommendations for the improvements necessary to achieve suitability for publication.
JLE employs two peer review cycles: Pre-publication review (Blind Review or Open Review) and Post-publication review.
BLIND VS OPEN REVIEW
By default, author names are removed from the manuscripts to ensure double-blind peer review. But they are offered the option to give their names for reviewers, and a few select this option.
Reviewers can also remove their names from the manuscript if they are interested in blind review.However, we encourage reviewers to reveal their names. Authors appreciate knowing who reviewed their manuscript and it helps them frame suitable responses.
At least 2 or 3 reviewers are invited to comment on the article and make a recommendation about its suitability for publication in the first round of review. When the reviewers’ comments have been received, the Chief Editor and the Editorial Board will make a decision, taking into account their recommendations.
POST PEER REVIEW
The next review cycle is implemented after the publication of the article in the journal. Any researcher who works in the field of knowledge related to the published article may send a review of the article published in the journal during an unlimited period of time. Further, by agreement between the authors and the reviewer, the review can be either published in the public domain or stored in the editorial office of the journal. As a result of post-publication review, the authors have the right to make changes in the text of the article as a response to the recommendations of reviewers. A revised version of the article with a new DOI will be uploaded to the website of the Journal. If the authors do not agree with the comments of reviewers, they provide them with a detailed response to justify their position. Upon agreement with the reviewers and the author, this response can also be posted in the public domain or sent to reviewers without making it available to the readers.
This approach allows us to get real feedback from both authors and reviewers, improves the quality of published research materials and lays the foundation for truly scientific communication.
- When you receive an invitation to peer review, you should be sent a copy of the paper's abstract to help you decide whether you wish to do the review.
- If you receive a manuscript that covers a topic that does not sufficiently match your area of expertise, please notify the editor as soon as possible.
- Try to respond to invitations promptly - it will prevent delays. If you decline the invitation, it would be helpful if you could provide suggestions for alternative reviewers.
- Reviewing may take a lot of time. Make sure you can meet the deadline.
- It is also important at this stage to declare any potential Conflict of Interest.
MANAGING YOUR REVIEW
Reviews are managed and submitted online via JLE submission system.
To access the paper and deliver your review, click on the link in the invitation email you received which will bring you directly to the submission system where a full manuscript is available.
The JLE provides reviewers with a Review report form to fill out that comprises a range of questions followed by comment sections. Try to give complete answers to these questions. In addition to a review report form, any other comments discussing an article are welcome since they help authors look at their papers from a different angle. Write your comments and recommendations under the table.
To initiate any discussions regarding the manuscript, add relevant discussion in JLE submission system.
The first read-through is a skim-read. It will help you form an initial impression of the paper and get a sense of whether your eventual recommendation will be to accept or reject the paper.
When reviewing the article, please keep the following in mind:
- What is the main question addressed by the research? Is it relevant and interesting?
- 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?
- Are the conclusions consistent with the evidence and arguments presented? Do they address the main question posed?
- If the author is disagreeing significantly with the current academic consensus, do they have a substantial case? If not, what would be required to make their case credible?
- If the paper includes tables or figures, what do they add to the paper? Do they aid understanding or are they superfluous?
- If the article is difficult to understand, you should have rejected it already. However, if the language is poor but you understand the core message, see if you can suggest improvements to fix the problem.
Detailed Read-Through: Section-by-Section Guidance
Once the paper has passed your first read and you've decided the article is publishable in principle, one purpose of the second, detailed read-through is to help prepare the manuscript for publication. Of course, you may still decide to reject it following a second reading.
The benchmark for acceptance is whether the manuscript makes a useful contribution to the knowledge base or understanding of the subject matter. It need not be fully complete research - it may be an interim paper. After all research is an incomplete, on-going project by its nature. The detailed read-through should take no more than an hour for the moderately experienced reviewer.
As you're reading through the manuscript for a second time, you'll need to keep in mind the argument's construction, the clarity of the language and content.
Here is a checklist to consider when reading the manuscript:
- Does the title properly reflect the subject of the paper?
- Does the abstract provide an accessible summary of the paper?
- Does it set out the argument?
- Does it summarize recent research related to the topic?
- Does it highlight gaps in current understanding or conflicts in current knowledge?
- Does it establish the originality of the research aims by demonstrating the need for investigations in the topic area?
- Does it give a clear idea of the target readership, why the research was carried out and the novelty and topicality of the manuscript?
- Does it state the research aim?
- Are the study design and methods appropriate for the research question?
- Is there enough detail to repeat the experiments?
- Is it clear how samples were collected or how participants were recruited?
- Is there any potential bias in the sample or in the recruitment of participants?
- Are the correct controls/ validation included?
- Are any potential confounding factors considered?
- Has any randomization been done correctly?
- Is the time-frame of the study sufficient to see outcomes?
- Is there sufficient power and appropriate statistics?
- Do you have any ethical concerns?
- Are the results presented clearly and accurately?
- Do the results presented match the methods?
- Have all the relevant data been included?
- Is there any risk of patients or participants being identified?
- Is the data described in the text consistent with the data in the figures and tables?
6. Discussion and Conclusion
- Do the authors logically explain the findings?
- Do the authors compare the findings with current findings in the research field?
- Are the implications of the findings for future research and potential applications discussed?
- Are the conclusions supported by the data presented?
- Are any limitations of the study discussed?
- Are any contradictory data discussed?
7. Tables, Figures, Images
- Are they appropriate?
- Do they properly show the data?
- Are they easy to interpret and understand?
8.List of references
- Are there any key references missing?
- Do the authors cite the initial discoveries where suitable?
- Are there places where the authors cite a review but should cite the original paper?
- Do the cited studies represent current knowledge?
- Is the article in line with the aims and scope of the journal?
- Plagiarism: If you suspect that an article is a substantial copy of another work, please let the editor know, citing the previous work in as much detail as possible
- Fraud: It is very difficult to detect the determined fraudster, but if you suspect the results in an article to be untrue, discuss it with the editor
Once you’ve read the paper and have assessed its quality, you need to make a recommendation to the editor about publication. The key decisions are:
Accept Submission. The paper is suitable for publication in its current form.
Revisions Required. The paper will be ready for publication after revisions. Please list the revisions you would recommend the author makes.
Decline submission. The paper isn’t suitable for publication with the JLE, or the revisions are too fundamental for the submission to continue being considered in its current form.
Whether you recommend Accepting or Declining the manuscript, keep in mind that one of your goals is to help the authors improve this and future manuscripts - not to make them give up in despair.
Avoid overly negative wording or personal comments, point out the main strengths of the manuscript as well as its weaknesses, and suggest specific ways to fix the problems you identify.
When authors make revisions to their article, they’re asked to submit a list of changes and any comments for the reviewers. The revised version is usually returned to the original reviewer if possible. The reviewer is then asked to affirm whether the revisions are satisfactory.
Please remember that reviewers have privileged access to articles, so we ask that you respect the authors’ confidentiality and do not disclose any information about the article prior to publication.
Do not forget that, even after finalizing your review, you must treat the article and any linked files or data as confidential documents. This means you must not share them or information about the review with anyone without prior authorization from the editor.
Finally, we take the opportunity to thank you sincerely on behalf of the journal, editors and author(s) for the time you have taken to give your valuable input to the article.