Peer Review Process
The review process (or peer-review) is an important aspect of the publication process of an article. It helps an editor in deciding on an article and enables the author to improve the manuscript.
Foundation University Journal of Dentistry operates a double-blind peer review system.
Double-blind peer review is where both authors and reviewers are anonymous to each other. Authors will need to anonymise their manuscript before submitting their paper and therefore reviewers will not be aware of a manuscript's author when carrying out peer review.
THE PEER-REVIEW PROCESS
Step 1: Editor Assessment
When your manuscript arrives at the journal’s editorial office it will receive an initial desk assessment by the journal’s editor or editorial office. They will check that it’s broadly suitable for the journal, asking questions such as:
- Is this the right journal for this article? Does the paper cover a suitable topic according to the journal’s Aims & Scope?
- Has the author followed the journal’s guidelines in the Guide for Authors? They will check that your paper conforms to the basic requirements of the journal, such as mandatory documents, language clarity, plagiarism check, format, and bibliography.
- Has the author included everything that’s needed for peer review? They will check that there is an abstract with keywords, author academic affiliations and corresponding author details, any figures or tables, and research-funder information.
- Does it make a significant contribution to the existing literature?
If your article doesn’t pass these initial checks, the editor might give you a chance to improve or reject the article immediately. This is known as a ‘desk reject’, and is a decision made at the editor’s discretion based on their substantial experience and subject expertise. Having this initial screening in place can enable a quick decision if your manuscript isn’t suitable for the journal, enabling you to submit your article to another journal quickly.
If your article does pass the initial assessment it will move to the next stage, and into peer review.
Step 2: First round of peer review
The editor will then find and contact other researchers who are experts in your field, asking them to review the paper. Usually, a minimum of two external reviewers is required for every article as per HEC Journals and Publication Policy.
The reviewers will be asked to read and comment on your article. They may also be invited to advise the editor whether your article is suitable for publication in that journal.
So, what are they looking for? This depends on the subject area, but they will be checking that:
- Your work is original or new.
- The study design and methodology are appropriate and described so that others could replicate what you’ve done.
- You’ve engaged with all the relevant current scholarships.
- Results are appropriately and well presented.
- Your conclusions are reliable, significant, and supported by the research.
- The paper fits the scope of the journal.
- The work is of a high enough standard to be published in the journal.
Once the editor has received and considered the reviewer reports, as well as making their assessment of your work, they will let you know their decision. The reviewer reports will be shared with you along with any additional guidance from the editor.
If you get a straight acceptance, congratulations, your article is ready to move to publication. Note, however, that this isn’t common. Very often, you will need to revise your article and resubmit. Or it may be that the editor decides your paper needs to be rejected by that journal.
Please note that the final editorial decision on a paper and the choice of who to invite to review is always at the editor’s discretion.
Step 3: Revise and resubmit
It is very common for the editor and reviewers to have suggestions about how you can improve your paper before it is ready to be published. They might have only a few straightforward recommendations (‘minor amendments’) or require more substantial changes before your paper will be accepted for publication (‘major amendments’).
Authors tell us that the reviewers’ comments can be extremely helpful, ensuring that the article is of high quality.
During this next stage of the process, you, therefore, have time to amend your article based on the reviewers’ comments, resubmitting it with any or all changes made.
Once you resubmit your manuscript the editor will look through the revisions. They will often send it out for the second round of peer review, asking the reviewers to assess how you’ve responded to their comments.
After this, you may then be asked to make further revisions, or the paper might be rejected if the editor thinks that the changes you’ve made are not adequate. However, if your revisions have now brought the paper up to the standard required by that journal, it then moves to the next stage.
Step 4: Accepted
And that’s it, you’ve made it through peer review. The next step is production. Copy editing begins, and your proofs are created. You'll sign a copyright transfer agreement.
HOW LONG DOES PEER REVIEW TAKE?
Editorial teams work very hard to progress papers through peer review as quickly as possible. However, it’s important to be aware that this part of the process can take some time.
The first stage is for the editor to find suitably qualified expert reviewers who are available. Given the competing demands of research life, nobody can agree to every review request they receive. It’s therefore not uncommon for a paper to go through several cycles of requests before the editor finds reviewers who are both willing and able to accept. Then those reviewers have to find time alongside their research, teaching, and writing, to give your paper thorough consideration.
Please keep this in mind if you don’t receive a decision on your paper as quickly as you would like. If you’ve submitted your paper via an online system, then you can use it to track the progress of your paper through peer review. Otherwise, if you need an update on the status of your paper, please get in touch with the editor.