At the European Medical Journal (EMJ) we are always seeking to enhance the quality of our journals, and we aim to publish manuscripts of the highest standard. Our journals are based around the hot topics at that year’s major European congress for the therapeutic area and we seek manuscripts with the most current, interesting, and relevant information on these topics. Peer reviewing is an essential aspect of this and we appreciate our peer reviewers’ assistance in this process.
For each manuscript, the Editorial team invites two or more referees to read and assess the manuscript. EMJ uses double-blind peer review, meaning that the identity of the author(s) is/are concealed from the reviewer(s), and vice versa, throughout the entirety of the review process. We invite reviews through our online submission website, Editorial Manager, at http://www.editorialmanager.com/e-m-j/
If you would like to become a member of the Peer Review Panel for one of our journals, please contact us.
Peer Review Guidance Notes
As a Peer Review Panel member, please keep in mind that EMJ favours manuscripts with the most current, interesting, and relevant information. Our primary aim is to keep medical professionals updated, informed and engaged. When reviewing please consider the word limit restrictions (3,000 words ±10%) facing the authors when writing on a topic which we believe is appropriate for publication. Additionally, you may find it helpful to read our Author Instructions.
Before agreeing to review you should consider the following:
- Does the article you are being asked to review match your expertise? If there is only one section of the manuscript that you are unfamiliar with, then please notify us, as it may be the case that other reviewers have the required expertise in this section.
- Do you have time to review the manuscript? If not, please let us know promptly and if possible suggest alternative reviewers. If, having agreed to review a manuscript, you find yourself unable to complete the review to deadline, please let us know as soon as possible in order to mitigate against delays in the peer review process.
- Potential conflicts of interest. This could be anything that prevents you from conducting an unbiased review of the manuscript, including, but not limited to, you may have worked on the manuscript or research previously, although peer review is double blind, you may recognise the authors or work, or have a professional or financial connection to the manuscript.
We will ask our reviewers to score the manuscript against the following Manuscript Rating questions:
- Impartiality and breadth of coverage
- Substantiation of all claims through referenced primary literature
- Scientific validity
- Originality, significance and importance
After providing comments on the manuscript, we ask Peer Reviewers to recommend one of the four following actions:
- Accept without revision
- Accept subject to minor modification
- Accept subject to major modification
The scores and the recommendation are a guide only, we ask peer reviewers to comment fully on all aspects of the manuscript in the Reviewer Blind Comments to Author text box to help us make our decision. If you believe the manuscript should be rejected or requires substantial revision, it is important to include the relevant criticisms here. Please note that you are not required to correct style, grammar or spelling as this will be done if the manuscript is accepted, but any help you can give in clarifying the meaning is appreciated.
Feedback should be constructive to the author. For instance, if you are suggesting a significant modification, please note the reasons why and provide supporting references.
Feedback should be informative to the Editor. It is the Editor’s final decision, supported by feedback from peer review, on whether to invite the author to make revisions or to reject a manuscript. Therefore, any information you can provide them with is of great value. For instance, it is not helpful to suggest a paper should be rejected without providing substantive feedback as to why. The most useful reviews provide the Editor (and author) with as much information as possible about any comment made.
Please be clear about which aspects of your review are your opinion and which are based on the scientific literature. Note that as a peer reviewer, you are aiming to comment on the quality and rigour of the work received. If you are suggesting additions, please specify which are necessary/essential to support the claims of the manuscript under review and which simply represent a suggest for future further work.
Questions to ask yourself when reviewing the manuscript:
- Impartiality and breadth of coverage Are there any aspects missing that would support the claims of this manuscript? Have any aspects not been touched upon that should have been in order to accurately reflect the scientific literature? If yes, please suggest appropriate references.
- Originality, significance, and importance If this is a research manuscript, is the research question important? What value does it add to the scientific literature? If the conclusions are not original, please provide the relevant references. If a review article, does the manuscript offer any new perspectives? Subjectively speaking, would this manuscript be of interest to people of your own discipline and/or other medical disciplines?
- Title and abstract Does it describe the manuscript adequately and does it reflect the content of the manuscript?
- Introduction Does it describe what the author hopes to achieve? It should summarise the relevant current research and literature to provide context.
- Substantiation of all claims through referenced primary literature Is important work omitted? Are there missing citations? Authors must give credit to ideas, concepts, and data published previously. Do the authors over self-cite? Are the references current or does more recent research supersede them? If so, what references should be included or excluded? (Bear in mind that there is a reference limit of 60.)
- Data and Methodology If a research manuscript, have the authors used appropriate experimental design? Does the author accurately explain how the data was collected? Is the design suitable for answering the question posed? Is there sufficient information for others to replicate the research? Have equipment and materials been adequately described? Has ethical approval been obtained? If a literature review, have the authors described their search criteria, search terms, why manuscripts were included or omitted from the review?
- Appropriate checklists and guidelines Have the authors used the following tools to ensure good practice in reporting their work? CONSORT checklist when reporting randomised trials; STARD checklist when reporting studies on diagnostic accuracy; PRISMA checklist for systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
- Appropriate use of statistics Are any statistical tests used appropriate? Are probability values accurately described?
- Conclusion/Discussion Are the claims supported by the results or literature reviewed? Does the manuscript/author support or contradict previous theories? Have the authors discussed any limitations to their manuscript?
- Appropriate use of tables and figures Are they appropriate to the manuscript. Do they inform the reader? Is the meaning of any tables/figures clear? Are they correctly labelled. Are they all necessary? Would additional ones be useful (limit is 3 display items).
- Areas of the paper which can be removed (if any)
- Any further comments and improvements to the paper
The Editor collates the peer review comments with their own and the author is invited to resubmit a revised manuscript (if required) to the Editor, whose decision to publish is final. Please be aware that the Editor will weigh comments from all reviewers in determining whether to publish a manuscript and that conflicting advice may be provided. Therefore, the most useful reviews provide detail for the Editor about any comments made. Furthermore, we ask peer reviewers on Editorial Manager whether they are able to look at the manuscript again if major revisions were requested.
Note: Peer reviewers can provide confidential comments to the Editorial Team in addition to their comments to the authors. However, as the COPE guidelines for peer reviewers note, confidential comments to the Editor should not be a place for denigration or false accusation, done in the knowledge that the authors will not see your comments.
Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality
Peer Reviewers must disclose any conflicts of interest that could bias opinions of the manuscript and should recuse themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if the potential for bias exists.
Manuscripts sent for review are privileged communications and are the private property of the authors. Therefore, reviewers must respect the author’s rights by not publicly discussing the author’s work or appropriating their ideas before the manuscript is published.
Reviewers must not make copies of the manuscript and are prohibited from sharing them with others, except with the permission of the Editor. Please note that if you wish to use this manuscript to train a colleague in reviewing manuscripts, then you should contact us before doing so in order to obtain permission.
Reviewers should return or destroy copies of manuscripts after submitting reviews.