Peer review is a crucial tool to bring research forward by evaluating manuscripts and offering suggestions for improvement. The voluntary work of our reviewers is the key element in this process.
All reviewers for the ESR journals should be aware of their responsibility to guide authors by providing constructive feedback. In both the ‘Feedback to Authors’ as well as ‘Confidential Comments to the Editor’, they are asked to give their opinion and criticism in a professional, neutral language.
The Editors will reserve their right to delete from the author’s feedback any unprofessional, libellous and/or insulting comments.
Please consider both qualitative and quantitative criteria when deciding on a minor or major revision:
any methodological question, any potential misunderstanding, any major discrepancy between different parts of the manuscript should qualify for a major revision; changes suggested for better understanding, easier reading, or better connection of the data and the text might qualify for a minor revision.
if there are multiple minor points of criticism, this should usually turn a minor into a major revision. Please keep in mind that ‘Accept’ is not usually an appropriate suggestion for a first revision, and that a manuscript should be rejected if changes would most likely result in a new design and methodology.
Reviewer blind comments to author
These comments will be sent to the author in the decision letter. Please organize your review according to the scheme given online and comment on the various elements of the manuscript step by step.
Please consider the following qualities of your report:
- Give specific instructions, not general comments (example: “The results are not reproducible from what is described” is better than “This paper contains poor methods”)
- Give constructive criticism/suggestions to improve the work.
- Distinguish minor changes (improving the manuscript) from major issues (substantial for publication).
- Keep your tone fair and respectful.
- Do not include your suggestion whether to publish this paper or not – this is the decision of the Editor, who will diligently consider the comments and criticisms of both reviewers.
- Do not sign the review with your name as we have a double-blind review process.
- Do not correct language errors, but let the editor know if an article is poorly written and the scientific content might be misunderstood.
Please consider the following manuscript criteria:
- The title should be informative and preferably convey the conclusion of the study and not just be a neutral description.
- The abstract needs to be in line with the main text and attract the attention of the readers.
- The introduction should explain why the work is important and provide a clear hypothesis and objective.
- Materials and methods should provide information to reproduce the study, and the study design should be in line with the research question.
- The number of patients or measurements should be high enough to be significant.
- The results need to correlate with the questions posed in materials and methods.
- The discussion is meant to interpret the results and should contain essential findings, critical discussion, limitations, relevance and conclusions.
- Images and tables should reflect the presented findings and results.
Confidential comments to the editor
Please give your brief recommendation to the Editor on whether to publish or not, here. Confidential comments to the Editor should be clear and concise, and provide an explanation of your recommendation. The editor relies on your honest opinion.
Please consider the following points:
- Why did you recommend this decision?
- Is the content original?
- Does it provide new information not yet covered by other articles?
- Will the article influence research or clinical practice?
- Is the article likely to be cited?
- Are there outstanding strengths or weaknesses of the methods and patient group?
- Are the results clear and credible?
- Are the conclusions supported by the results and in line with the research question?
Your comments should be in line with your answers to the reviewer questions (e.g. you should not describe the scientific/clinical importance as low and then score it with “outstanding”, etc.), and correspond with your comments to the authors.
International checklists and guidelines
- CONSORT – Randomized controlled trials
- PRISMA – Systematic reviews
- MOOSE – Meta-analyses of observational studies [pdf download]
- STARD – Diagnostic accuracy studies
- STROBE – Observational studies
- RATS – Qualitative studies
- EQUATOR Network – reporting guidelines for health research
- MIBBI Portal – Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations
Information about CME
Reviewers can claim CME with the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (UEMS) for performed reviewing activities carried out within the scope of editorial procedures for journals indexed in PubMed.
CME can be claimed for reviews performed from January 1, 2017 onwards. The application requires a one-time fee of 20€ (VAT excluded) and a confirmation from the editor of the journal (letter or email including date of review).
For more information, visit the website of the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (UEMS).