Reviewer Guidelines

Reviewer Guidelines

The review process in brief
For general information, we have provided an overview of the editorial process, including how we identify the submissions that are appropriate for in-depth peer review.
Upon receiving the full submission, appropriate member of the Board of Editors will usually review the article him or herself and solicit at least one other external reviewer.
An online consultation session is opened with the reviewer(s) once two reviews have been received, with any outstanding reviewers prompted to submit their review and join the discussion. The Reviewing editor will draft a decision letter, with input welcome from the other reviewer(s).
Our aim is to provide clear and decisive instructions to authors, so that they know what they need to do to get the article published. If a revision is requested, the decision letter will usually include a single set of instructions; the full reviews in this case are not sent to the authors. If the decision is that the article cannot be revised in a reasonable time frame for publication in Open Science Journal and must therefore be rejected, the letter will usually include the full reviews, with the reasons clearly explained.

We do not release the identities of the reviewers to the authors (unless requested by the reviewers themselves) but in the course of the discussion that forms part of the review process, each reviewer will know the identity of the other reviewer(s). We also request each reviewer’s permission to reveal his or her identity and report to another journal, if the work is rejected and the author requests the reports for the purposes of submission to another journal.

The review process is strictly confidential and must be treated as such by reviewers during the review process and subsequently. However, co-reviewing a manuscript with an experienced junior colleague can be an important learning experience that we are happy to support. To provide accountability and appropriate credit, the name of the co-referee should be disclosed to the editors and we would encourage all reviewers to consider sharing their names with the authors. Both reviewers should agree on the wording of the review, and the same principles relating to confidentiality and competing interests apply to both reviewers. The senior reviewer should be the main point of contact for the discussion between the reviewers, but the senior reviewer can confer with their co-reviewer during this discussion.
Other than co-reviewing for training purposes, reviewers should not contact anyone not directly involved with the assessment of the article, including colleagues or other experts in the field, unless this has been discussed and approved in advance by the Reviewing editor.

Competing interests
We ask reviewers to recognise potential competing interests that could lead them to be positively or negatively disposed towards an article. Reviewers should inform the editors or journal staff if they are close competitors or collaborators of the authors. They should reveal whether they have a personal relationship with an author and whether they have reviewed the authors’ articles in the past. Reviewers must recuse themselves if they feel that they are unable to offer an impartial review. We will also make every effort to follow authors’ requests to exclude reviewers, provided that a specific reason is provided.

Selection criteria Open Science Journal scope is broad and inclusive, covering the full range from all science disciplines. We seek to publish all highly influential research in all fields, whereby influence is interpreted in the broadest sense to cover the advance in understanding, potential to drive a field forward, and real-world outcomes. Articles must be methodologically and scientifically rigorous, ethically conducted, and objectively presented according to the appropriate community standards.

Writing the review
You will be asked for a general assessment and a summary of any substantive concerns (ideally in fewer than 500 words but longer reviews can also be submitted), and a list of minor comments. If you want to state that something is already known, and either contradicts or duplicates a major conclusion of the manuscript, please support this with appropriate references. When constructing your comments, you should follow these important Open Science Journal editorial principles and justify any requests for additional work:

  • We will only request new work, such as experiments, analyses, or data collection, if the new data are essential to support the major conclusions.
  • The authors must be able to do any new work in a reasonable time frame. If the conclusions are not adequately supported by the existing data, the submission should be rejected.
  • Any requests for new work must fall within the scope of the current submission and the technical expertise of the authors. When revisions are requested, the Reviewing editor’s decision letter will only contain the most relevant review comments, with any subsequent resubmission assessed only by the original Reviewing editor in most cases. These principles are intended to accelerate scientific progress by promoting modes of communication whereby new results are made available quickly, openly, and in a way that helps others to build upon them.
    Please note that we will make all reasonable efforts to identify potential breaches of publishing ethics, and in case of any concerns, reviewers are encouraged to alert the journal’s editorial staff in the first instance as neutrally as possible. The editorial staff will consult the Reviewing editor and investigate further. Reviewers should not make allegations of misconduct within the review itself or within the online consultation.

    Submitting the review
    You will be asked to confirm that you do not have any competing interests to declare; that you disclose the name(s) of anybody with whom you have discussed the article, or who has assisted in the review process (including co-reviewing for training purposes); whether you want to remain anonymous; and whether you agree to allow us to share your full review and identity with other journals in the event of rejection.
    The main part of the review consists of a general assessment and a summary of any substantive concerns (in fewer than 500 words), and a list of minor comments. Please be aware that in the event of acceptance, the decision letter containing the integrated review comments will be published (subject to author approval).

  • Your manuscript is welcome at Open Science Journal!

    Your paper is welcome at Open Science Journal regardless of your field of study.