General expectations of reviewers
Authors submit their manuscripts to the American Journal of Veterinary Research with the understanding that the manuscripts and their contents will be kept confidential until they are published. Manuscripts are the intellectual property of the authors. Therefore, we ask that reviewers not make additional copies of any manuscripts they are asked to review (beyond those copies needed for the review process itself) and that they not discuss the content of any manuscript with colleagues, students, or other parties. Because the peer-review process depends on objective evaluation of manuscripts, a reviewer should immediately notify the editor assigned to the manuscript of any personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest he or she may have regarding a manuscript or its authors. Although such conflicts do not necessarily disqualify a reviewer, they should be considered when the editor makes a decision about a manuscript's disposition. Reviewers should also contact the editor immediately if they lack the expertise to adequately assess manuscripts submitted to them or if they need opinions from additional experts. Reviewers should not contact the authors directly.
Reviewers should provide fair, objective, thorough, and constructive reviews. Reviewers' recommendations should be based on fact and logic, and reviewers should document and justify their criticisms. To minimize the component of the lag time between submission and publication of a manuscript attributable to the review process, reviewers should return their reviews within two weeks.
Reviewers are asked to complete a checklist for all manuscripts sent to them for review. However, this checklist is not sent to the authors; therefore, we ask that reviewers also provide a separate critique that can be submitted to the authors. This critique should contain a brief overview of the reviewer's assessment of the manuscript and comments about each of the manuscript's sections, clearly identifying (by page and paragraph or line number) aspects of the manuscript that were considered marginal or unacceptable. Reviewers should not, in this written critique, comment about whether the manuscript should be accepted or rejected. If a reviewer wishes to comment on how a manuscript that is currently considered unacceptable could be made acceptable, this should be done in a separate note addressed to the editor.
To assist the reviewers, we have developed a list of the factors reviewers should consider when evaluating manuscripts. In general, reviewers should not advise authors to perform more work unless this only involves further analysis of the available data. If a reviewer believes additional studies are necessary before the manuscript could be considered acceptable, the reviewer should recommend rejection of the manuscript. Reviewers should review the manuscript the authors wrote, not the manuscript they believe the authors should have written.
Any questions about these guidelines or about any manuscript that has been submitted for review should be directed to the editor assigned to the manuscript.
Factors To Consider When Evaluating Manuscripts Submitted to the AJVR
- Is the purpose of the study clear and is the objective of the study relevant?
- Are there sufficient new and important findings to warrant publication?
- Has any or all of the information in the manuscript been published previously?
- Are experimental methods appropriate for the study?
- Do the data support the conclusions?
- Is the writing clear, concise, and readable?
- Should any sections of the manuscript be expanded, condensed, or eliminated?
- Have authors used abbreviations or jargon to excess?
Specific Manuscript Sections
- Is the title a clear, accurate representation of the article's content?
- Is the abstract a clear, concise (< 250 words), accurate representation of the major findings of the study?
- Is the introduction focused on relevant aspects of the topic and not just a literature review?
- Is the reason for performing the study clearly stated?
Materials and Methods
- Is the study design valid and are experimental methods appropriate?
- Are experimental methods described in sufficient detail?
- Are methods for selecting test and control subjects appropriate?
- Were animals treated humanely?
- Do authors address potential confounders and biases in subject selection?
- Are statistical methods valid?
- Are data presented in a clear and understandable manner?
- Do authors account for all animals?
- Are the results credible?
- Are calculations correct (please scan and spot check)?
- Do tables, text, and figures agree with and complement each other?
- Are all tables and figures necessary or is there repetition of material?
- Is the figure quality adequate?
- Are any results mentioned for the first time in the discussion?
- Do the authors interpret the data rather than simply restating the results?
- Are strengths and weaknesses of the methods used acknowledged?
- Are any ideas or conclusions over- or underemphasized?
- Do the authors provide a balanced view of the importance of the results?
- Do the authors cite relevant work of others?
- Are all conclusions supported by the results?
- Are any key issues not addressed?
- Is all of the discussion relevant?
- Do the authors make any recommendations not supported by their data or beyond the scope of the study?
- Are citations and quotations correct (please scan and spot check)?
- Are all references pertinent or are some inconsequential?
- Are primary sources of information cited (preferred) or have the authors relied on review articles, textbooks, or other secondary or tertiary sources (discouraged)?
- Have any important references been omitted (please provide citations)?
Version: June 15, 2020