PEER REVIEW POLICY AND PROCESS
Reviewer Roles and Responsibilities
Peer review is the principal mechanism by which the quality of research is judged. SHJ adopts a strict peer review process. Sudan Heart Journal peer-reviewed articles depend heavily on the scientific referees or reviewers who typically volunteer their time and expertise. In most circumstances, at least 2 reviewers are solicited to evaluate a manuscript. In cases of controversy or strong disagreement regarding the merits of the work, an additional review may also be solicited or one of the journal’s editors might give an evaluation. More than 3 reviewers are sometimes used if reviewers from several fields are needed to obtain a thorough evaluation of a paper.
In addition to fairness in judgment and expertise in the field, peer reviewers have significant responsibilities toward authors, editors, and readers.
Peer-reviewer responsibilities toward authors
Peer-reviewer responsibilities toward editors
Peer-reviewer responsibilities toward readers
Peer review process and editorial decision making at journals
The peer review process for journal publication is essentially a quality control mechanism. It is a process by which experts evaluate scholarly works, and its objective is to ensure a high quality of published science. However, peer reviewers do not make the decision to accept or reject papers. At most, they recommend a decision. Decision-making authority rests solely with journal editors. Indeed, it is the journal editor who is considered to be central to the decision making process.
Journal decision-making process
Typically, after a paper is submitted to a journal, a journal editor screens the manuscript and decides whether or not to send it for full peer review. Only after clearing the initial screening is the manuscript sent to one or more peer reviewers. Finally, journal editors or the journal’s editorial board consider the peer reviewers’ reports and make the final decision to accept or reject the manuscript for publication.
We follow a policy of screening papers before sending them for full peer review. During the initial screening, journal editors mainly check the following:
One of the first items that editors will look at is the cover letter, and they may not get further than the cover letter if the study does not seem interesting enough. Therefore, it is imperative that authors craft a well-written cover letter that highlights the significance and strength of their research as well as provides a good reason why the manuscript is a good fit for the journal.
Editors will then go through the abstract and may even skim through the introduction, figures and tables, or other sections of the paper to determine whether the manuscript passes their quality threshold.
If the manuscript clearly lies outside the scope of the journal, then a rapid rejection allows the author to quickly find and submit their manuscript to another journal.
Once a manuscript clears the initial screening, it is sent for peer review.
Our policy is to adopt double blind process where names of reviewers and authors are not revealed to each other. We do not apply open peer review or single blind policy at the present time
Generally, a minimum of 2 peer reviewers are chosen for the peer review. Peer reviewers are ideally experts in their field. We have created a pool of peer reviewer for the different specialties.
The peer review is completed once all the reviewers send the journal a detailed report with their comments on the manuscript and their recommendation. Typically, we request reviewers to complete their reviews within 2-4 weeks. However, few journals have a mechanism to enforce the deadline, which is why it can be hard to predict how long the peer review process will take.
The journal editors consider the feedback provided by the peer reviewers and arrive at a decision. The following are the most common decisions that are made:
The first option (accept without any changes) is rare. The second decision (accept with minor revisions) is typically the best outcome authors should hope for. Once a journal rejects a paper outright, authors are well advised not to resubmit to the same journal. If the journal wanted to reconsider the paper, they would have issued a conditional rejection. An outright rejection means that the journal thinks the paper will not meet its publication standards or interests even after heavy revisions.
It is common for peer reviewers to give conflicting feedback on the same manuscript. In cases of conflicting feedback, the journal editor may choose to send the paper to a third reviewer before arriving at a decision and the author may have to wait longer for the peer review process to be completed.