This journal operates a double-blind review process; that is, the author’s name is not disclosed to the reviewer, and the reviewer’s name is not disclosed to the author. All contributions are initially assessed by the editor for suitability for the journal. Papers deemed suitable are sent to the academic editor and then, typically, to a minimum of two independent expert reviewers to assess the scientific quality of the paper. The editor in chief is responsible for the final decision regarding acceptance or rejection of articles. The discussion below gives more detailed information on the types of peer review.
1. What is peer review?
Peer review is a process in which the author’s work, research, or ideas are evaluated by experts in the same field. In the process of periodical publication, peer review is one of the important ways for publishers to select papers and to maintain and improve academic quality. Due to the extreme importance of peer review, international science and technology publishing peer review, which focuses on the correctness and effectiveness of the international scientific measurement and evaluation institutions in terms of the national scientific research output comparison and analysis, with particular emphasis on the statistics of papers, must be published in peer-reviewed journals [Ren Shengli, English of science and technology thesis writing and submission (second edition), 2011].
2. Types of peer review
There are different types of peer review. You must therefore check which type is employed by the journal with which you are working so that you are aware of the respective rules. Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Often, one type of review will be preferred by a subject community, but there is an increasing call toward more transparency around the peer review process.
2.1 Single blind review
In this type of review, the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author. This is the traditional method of reviewing and is the most common type. The points to consider regarding single blind review include:
1）Reviewer anonymity allows for impartial decisions – the reviewers should not be influenced by the authors.
2）Authors may be concerned that reviewers in their field could delay publication, thus giving themselves a chance to publish first.
3）Reviewers may use their anonymity as justification for being unnecessarily critical or harsh when commenting on the authors’ work.
2.2 Double-blind review
Both the reviewer and the author are anonymous in this model. Some advantages of this model are listed below.
1） Author anonymity limits reviewer bias, for example, based on an author’s gender, country of origin, academic status, or previous publication history.
2）Articles written by prestigious or renowned authors are considered on the basis of the content of their papers, rather than their reputation.
However, despite the above, reviewers can often identify the author through their writing style, subject matter, or self-citation. It is therefore difficult to guarantee total author anonymity. More information for authors can be found in our double-blind peer review guidelines.
2.3 Triple-blind review
In triple-blind review, reviewers are anonymous, and the author is anonymous to both the reviewers and the editor. Articles are anonymized at the submission stage to minimize any potential bias toward the author(s). However, it should be noted that the complexities involved in anonymizing articles/authors at this level are considerable. As with the double-blind review, there is still a possibility for the editor and/or reviewers to identify the author from their style, subject matter, citation patterns, or other ways.
2.4 Open review
Open peer review is an umbrella term for various models aiming at greater transparency during and after the peer review process. The most common definition of open review is when the reviewer and the author are known to each other. Other types of open peer review consist of:
1）publication of the reviewers’ names in the article
2）publication of peer review reports (signed or anonymous) together with authors’ and editors’ responses alongside the article
3）publication of the paper after a quick check and opening a discussion forum to the community, who can make comments (named or anonymous).
Many believe that this is the best way to prevent malicious comments, stop plagiarism, prevent reviewers from following their own agenda, and encourage open and honest reviewing. Others see open review as a less honest process, as politeness or fear of retribution may cause a reviewer to withhold or tone down criticism.
3. Content of peer review
A periodical will usually guide peer review along with a review sheet attached to the manuscript. As an author, I understand that the review requirements of the journal will undoubtedly be helpful in preparing the manuscript. The review mainly involves ascertaining that:
3.1 the content of the manuscript is novel and important.
The evaluation of the innovation and importance of the content of the manuscript includes the novelty of the topic, the novelty of the results and the data, whether it is true, whether the conclusion is clear, etc.
3.2 the experimental description is clear and complete.
The experimental section should provide enough detail for others to repeat, or allow experienced reviewers to judge the quality of the data based on the test description. If the techniques or procedures used by the author have been published, the unnecessary details should be avoided as much as possible, but the necessary experimental conditions or relevant references should be stated.
3.3 the discussion and conclusion are reasonable.
The thesis should have a clear idea and protect scientific logic. The discussion should follow the author’s own experimental results closely. The conclusion should be reasonable, avoiding too much extrapolation, and bearing in mind that there is unwarranted speculation. Reviewers are usually very concerned about the authenticity and reliability of experimental data and whether the experimental results have been comprehensively and deeply analyzed. For conclusions that the data extrapolated by the author are not sufficient to support the results, the reviewer should give appropriate suggestions, including whether more evidence or data should be obtained, or they should delete inferences that have insufficient evidence, or suggest other possible explanations of the data or results.
3.4 the reference is necessary and reasonable:
1) The bibliographic entries of the reference documents should be true and correct and shall be consistent with the references in the text.
2) The references quoted should be absolutely necessary.
3) It is also important to verify the accuracy of references.
3.5 words and charts are used appropriately.
The writing should follow the principle of simplicity and clarity and should be smooth, organized, and logical. The reviewer may indicate clearly what to say, but should not impose his own style on the author. Charts should be necessary and self-explanatory, and text and charts should not repeat the same data and content. Diagrams that are too complex or difficult to read should be clear; that is, the thickness of the lines must be coordinated with the size of the characters and symbols, and the effect of reducing the size of the plate after printing should be considered.
4. Dealing with peer review results
In order to communicate with editors and reviewers effectively and to maintain their own academic views, the author should pay attention to the following points when dealing with the review opinions:
1) The author does not have to submit to the opinion of the reviewer in order to get the paper published. For unreasonable or difficult suggestions, the author may reject the revision of the manuscript, but he or she must explain the reasons to the editor and the reviewer.
2) If the criticism in the review opinion is based on a misunderstanding, the author should not blame the misunderstanding on the ignorance, carelessness, or malice of the reviewer. On the contrary, the author should reflect on how to express himself or herself more clearly to avoid similar misunderstandings among other readers. The author should try not to overreact.
3) The author should try to reply to the reviewer’s comments one by one. If comments are not listed by item, the author should separate and annotate them by item and then answer them separately.
4) When uploading the revised manuscript, the modified content should be marked out so that the reviewer can easily identify how the author modified it. At the same time, the author should upload the revision instructions, and list his or her comments and modifications according to the items for editing or resubmitting.
5) If the revision and modification instructions are too simple, the progress of the processing of the manuscript may be affected, and the author may even be asked to modify the manuscript again or the manuscript may be rejected.