At Advances.in, our mission is to develop a more sustainable publishing model that shares a significant part of the income generated through open access publishing with editors and reviewers who are paid as contracted consultants. To make this publishing model work, we rely on editors and reviewers doing a thorough job. Below we will outline some guidelines. If you have further questions, please contact our support team.
As an editor, your first task is to make initial editorial decisions when manuscripts are submitted to the journal. At this stage, your task is to admit the articles that have a strong potential to be published in the journal within a maximum of 1-2 rounds of revisions for a full review (exceptions apply). You reject those that do not meet the standards of the journals or are thematically better suited for a different journal. We all know how disheartening it can be to receive a desk reject. Thus, please briefly justify the decision to reject a paper constructively to the authors.
For papers you evaluate as having a strong fit and potential, you invite input from no more than two reviewers. We encourage evaluations by one reviewer who is an expert in the field of the submission and one reviewer who has expertise in another field. This ensures that papers advance the state of the art while being accessible and relevant to a broader audience. Once the reviewers accept the task, they will be asked to sign a consultation contract and are then required to submit their review within 3 weeks (preferably 2 weeks).
Before reading the reviews, your task is to independently read the papers and then, based on the reviews and your own evaluation, make an editorial decision to accept, reject or ask for revisions. When you receive the revised manuscript, you will read it and the revision letter and decide whether the manuscript is:
- Ready for publication as is.
- Whether further revisions are needed that do not require another round of reviews.
- Whether you believe that another round of reviews is needed.
- Whether you think the paper should be rejected.
If sent out for another round of reviews, you make another editorial decisions in light of the second round of evaluations. If the author is required to submit a revised manuscript, you make a final decision after receiving the manuscript that has now been revised a second time. Please note that we discourage more than two rounds of reviews to limit the workload of editors and reviewers.
As a reviewer, you will be invited to review papers related to your expertise. You are expected to respond to review invitations as fast as possible to facilitate the review process. Some conditions (e.g., conflicts of interest) exclude you from being a reviewer on a given paper. Conflicts of interest are considered to prevent you from being a reviewer when:
- You have published together or otherwise collaborated with the author(s) during the past 5 years or when you work at the same institution.
- If you have a close personal relationship (e.g., family, friendship) with the author(s).
- If you have a conflict or rivalry with the author(s).
- If you can gain financially from the presented research.
In double-blind review, which our journals practice, it can be hard to assess each point without knowing the authors’ names. In reality, however, reviewers often can infer the group of researchers behind a given submission based on its content. Therefore, please thoroughly consider potential conflicts of interest before accepting a review task. Before inviting reviewers, the editorial team will also pay attention to preventing conflicts of interest, such as recent co-authorship.
After accepting a review task, you will be required to submit a review within 3 weeks (ideally 2 weeks). Please thoroughly read the whole manuscript, including additional information that may be available (usually presented in the supplementary materials). Evaluate the quality of the paper as a whole and identify specific strengths and weaknesses that you believe should be addressed in a potential revision. Importantly, at Advances.in we practice a mentoring approach to peer-review. That means that you should try to formulate your review as constructively as possible to help the author improve their work. When writing your review:
- Start with writing a section that summarizes the paper and its key findings.
- Then, start with highlighting the positive aspects of the manuscript.
- Next, identify potential limitations or weaknesses with regards to factors such as the authors’
- theoretical arguments
- research design
- data (was it made openly available?)
- presentation of results (including appropriateness of figures and tables)
- appropriate interpretation and discussion of results
- discussion of weaknesses and limitations
- abstract and title (Do they accurately reflect the content of the manuscript?)
The most relevant aspects of the evaluation will differ for each paper type.
- If you identify weaknesses, try to suggest concrete ways in which they could be addressed and provide the details needed for the authors to prepare a competitive revision. The more constructive you can be in your feedback, the better.
- Be specific and refer to page numbers to guide the author.
- Evaluate whether the authors have cited the most relevant literature and provide input on additional work that could strengthen the paper if needed. However, avoid the excessive suggestion of citation of your own work.
- Evaluate whether common ethical standards were adhered to. For research with human and non-human animal subjects, we generally request authors to report in the methods section the ethical review board that evaluated the research and the application number. In some countries and institutions, IRBs are not available or may not be required from researchers. In such a case, the author should outline how ethical considerations were taken into account when conducting the research.
In your review, the following criteria can guide your evaluation:
- Scope (Does the topic of the paper fit the journal?)
- Novelty (Does the information provided in the paper extend the current knowledge in the field?)
- Soundness (Are the method and analyses adequately conducted? Is the approach suited to answer the research question?)
- Impact (How important will the manuscript be for the field, society at large, and/or practice?)
- Clarity (Is the paper written in clear and adequate English?)