IJPT Reviewers’ Guidelines
Each paper submitted to IJPT is reviewed by at least two reviewers. Invited reviewers can access their assignment by logging into the Editorial Manager website with their username and password. Be sure to click the “Reviewer Login” button.
Any professional or financial affiliations that may be perceived as a conflict of interest or a history of personal differences with the author(s) may impact the impartial review of a manuscript. Reviewers should be objective in their evaluations and judge a paper impartially. If you cannot do so, please do not accept the manuscript for review and notify the editor.
Further, please inform the editor if you believe you are not qualified to evaluate a component of research in a manuscript.
The Review Process
Once you receive the invitation to review, immediately do as follows:
- Read the article abstract within the editor’s invitation and determine whether the subject is within your area of expertise.
- Offer criticism dispassionately; offensive remarks are not acceptable.
- If you decline the invitation to review respond as follows:
- State why you are declining the review
- Suggest a colleague who may be able to review the manuscript, if possible. The editor will send an invitation to review to that individual if appropriate.
- If you accept the invitation to review, you will be able to access the manuscript and immediately
- Double-check the manuscript title page and Acknowledgements section to determine if there is a conflict of interest for you and whether you can judge the article impartially
- Quickly skim the relevant parts of the manuscript and verify that it fits within the scope of the IJPT
- In your comments intended for the author
- Do not make statements about the acceptability of the paper, suggestions should be stated as such and not expressed as conditions of acceptance
- Organize the review such that the first paragraph gives your overall impression of the paper.
- Number comments after your first paragraph with specific citations to suggested changes to the manuscript
- Present criticism dispassionately; there should not be any personal comments
The primary function of peer review is to provide the editors with information to reach a decision. Reviewers should not feel obliged to provide overly detailed, constructive advice to authors who do not meet the criteria of the IJPT. If the manuscript is not suitable for publication, the report to the author should be brief, but still allowing the author(s) to understand the reason for the decision.
In order for a manuscript to be published in the IJPT, it needs to have the following: originality, clarity, appropriate methodology, supported conclusion(s), and relevant references. See more below.
- Is the hypothesis/purpose/objective in the manuscript new and well-defined?
- Does this manuscript have any relevancy and/or importance in the field of particle therapy?
- Is the scientific question raised by the authors important to radiation oncology, and do the findings demonstrate originality?
- Does the title and abstract adequately convey what the manuscript is about?
- Is the writing clear and understandable to the readership of the IJPT?
- If not, how could it be made more clear or accessible to non-specialists?
- What are the main claims of the paper and how significant are they?
- Is the use of abbreviations helpful or detracting from the paper?
- Is the manuscript well-written, logically organized, and adequately illustrated? Is the grammar adequate, with few spelling/typographical errors?
- Are the methods appropriate for the purpose of the manuscript?
- Is the statistical analysis of the data sound, and does it conform to the journal's guidelines?
- Is the resulting data sound and well-controlled?
- Are the methods well-described?
- Can the methods be easily replicated?
- Should the manuscript be seen by an expert statistician?
- Are there any special ethical concerns arising from the use of human or other animal subjects?
- Are there other experiments or work that would strengthen the paper further?
- Are the study approach and experimental design appropriate (examples: retrospective or prospective cohort, case-control, cross-sectional, ecological, case series; clinical trial or secondary analysis of clinical trial; registry-based; critical review; metaanalysis or systematic review; experimental, based on cell cultures, animal models, physical models, or method/technique development)?
- Are the data collection and experimental techniques appropriate? Do they enable reproducibility (if applicable, the study complies with the CONSORT, PRISMA and/or REMARK statements; was study IRB-approved or registered on clinicaltrials.gov.)?
- Are the results clearly presented and do they logically lead to the conclusion?
- Does the conclusion have any relevance to the field of particle therapy?
- Do you agree with the proposed conclusions? Are the proposed conclusions supported by the analysis and interpretations of the data?
- Does the Discussion include recent and relevant literature?
- Does the Discussion adequately address the limitations of the study?
- Have the references been used properly?
- Are they relevant to the manuscript?
- Have the authors been fair in their treatment of previous literature?
- Are the claims appropriately discussed in the context of previous literature?
- Does the manuscript include a sufficient number and range of references?
- Is self-citation minimal?
While peer review bias can be difficult to detect and quantify, reviewers are in the position to ask authors to perform actions that can introduce classical bias (see Samir Haffar, S, Bazerbachi, F, Murad, HM. Peer Review Bias: A Critical Review. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2019; 94: 670 – 676). To mitigate this, an excellent 2018 Scholarly Kitchen article by Alice Meadows, "Eight Ways to Tackle Diversity and Inclusion in Peer Review," suggests:
- Be aware of your own biases and very aware that we are all susceptible to bias in judgment.
- Allow dedicated time (no multi-tasking) when undertaking peer review.
- Use your imagination to picture in detail a research leader who is a woman/person of color/from a different type of institution or background.
- Review the assessment criteria before evaluating manuscripts or applications.
- Challenge yourself to consider whether your evaluation of an article would change if, for example, the researchers were male/white/from a major research institute.
To discover more about your own potential bias, visit Project Implicit and take one or more of the 14 Implicit Association Tests offered. Project Implicit, a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers, seeks to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a virtual laboratory for collecting data on the Internet.
Please note: reviewers are not expected to review language use and grammar; however, the quality of the language should be evaluated as acceptable, needs some corrections, or not suitable for publication unless extensively edited. We ask reviewers to avoid statements that may cause needless offense; conversely, we strongly encourage reviewers to state plainly their opinion of a paper.