Authors submit their manuscripts to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 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 lists 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.
Version: July 27, 2012