Rigor and Thoroughness
The entire manuscript (including the title and the abstract) should be considered in detail. Please pay close attention to assumptions, assertions, constructs, methods, analyses, and implications. If you feel qualified to evaluate only a particular aspect of a manuscript, indicate this in your confidential comments to the editor and associate editor. Always note the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the manuscript in sufficient detail to support your recommendation to the editor and associate editor. For instance, when referring to previous research, always provide a complete citation.
Anonymity and Confidentiality
JCR uses a double-blind review process, meaning that authors and reviewers are never informed of the other’s identities. Avoid alluding to your identity in your reviews. You might be aware of an author’s identity, for instance, because of prior presentations of the research. While such knowledge is unavoidable and not in itself reason to dismiss a reviewer, contact the editorial office if you believe you might face any bias—positive or negative—in your assessment of the work (i.e., you perceive a conflict of interest).
A conflict of interest, or COI, is any relationship that might bias or give the appearance of bias in reviewer assessments or editorial decisions, e.g., current or recent former colleagues, co-authors on other work, advisers, students, close friends or relations, or anyone who has seen or provided comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.
See our Conflict of Interest Policy.
As a matter of confidentiality, it is also a violation of the authors’ right to privacy to discuss a JCR manuscript with anyone else (though confidential and professional conduct in consultation with a colleague who may be more proficient in a particular area is acceptable).
Authors entrust us to assess their work on a timely basis so that they may revise it for JCR or other journals. We ask reviewers to devote sufficient time to provide a high-quality review within 25 days.
Strive to distinguish between major and minor concerns, and what is essential to address and what is optional for the author(s). The first round of review is the time to highlight “uncorrectable” problems and other major concerns. It is inappropriate to raise them in later review rounds if they already existed in the initial version.
Strive to be impartial. If you cannot separate the evaluation process from a desire to advocate a particular theory or philosophical perspective, then recuse yourself.
Be polite, diplomatic, and discerning. Phrases such as “fatal flaws” or “serious mistakes” might instead be rephrased as “substantial concerns” or “major issues.”
Sometimes there are alternative explanations for the empirical findings. When raising this criticism, detail how the relevant alternative interpretation is consistent with most or all of the data, and not just relevant to a subset of the data.
Sharing suggestions for improvement in the most precise manner possible will increase the likelihood that the authors will understand, appreciate, and use your suggestions.
Please also read: Quick Reviewer Do’s and Don’ts for JCR reviewers.