General Information for Reviewers

Reviewing a manuscript is a privilege and a time-consuming responsibility. It is important that the manuscripts are critically evaluated for the compliance with the following criteria: novelty, importance to the specific field and strong evidence for the conclusions that are drawn.

All submitted manuscripts are reviewed by the Editorial Board for relevancy to meet our editorial criteria. Manuscripts retained for review are sent to two or three referees, choosen by the members of the Editorial Board. Based on the advice of the referee's, the editor decides to: accept the manuscript with or without minor revision, invite the authors to revise the manuscript before a final decision is reached, or reject the manuscript on lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems.

Reviewers may recommend a particular course of action in their confidential comments to the editor, but should bear in mind that the editors may have to make a decision based on conflicting advice. Furthermore, editorial decisions are based on an evaluation of the strengths of the arguments raised by each referee and by the authors. The most useful referee reports, therefore, are those that set out clear, substantiated arguments and might include a recommendation of a course of action directed to the authors.

Receiving a Manuscript for Review

The selection of referees is critical to the review process and we expect the referees to treat this request as confidential. Manuscripts submitted for JSDI are evaluated through a single-blind peer-reviewed process and should not be discussed with its authors either during or after the reviewing. Please protect the manuscript provided to you for review from any form of exploitation. The reviewers are selected by searching the databases with selected peer-reviewed articles using the key words the authors have provided. Upon receiving an invitation letter with the manuscript to review, please do the following:

  • read the title and abstract of the manuscript to determine whether it falls within your field of expertise
  • click on one of the links received in the inivitation e-mail to either accept the review, decline the review or download the manuscript through the Journal's online submission system (Comet).
  • log in to the Journal's Comet system with the username and password provided in the invitation e-mail and check your details (especially contact details and field of expertise) and correct or add them if needed.
  • contact the editor for instructions if you have either a time problem or a conflict of interest, so that your deadline can be extended or review assignment cancelled.
  • fill in the reviewer's form and write your comments
  • before sending the comments remove your name from the part intended for authors.
  • if you wish to write the comments directly into the downloaded text of the manuscript check the settings on your computer (under Properties) to see whether your name appears next to the comments.
  • for any inquiries or technical problems contact the Editorial Office.

If Editorial Office, after receiving the revised version from authors, feels that reviewer's second opinion is needed, the revised manuscript may be sent to the same reviewer for reevaluation. The procedure through the Comet system for reevaluation is the same as for the first evaluation.

Receiving a Manuscript for Review

The primary purpose of referees' reports is to provide the editor with the information needed to reach a decision, but they should also instruct the authors on how to strengthen their manuscript if revision is a possibility.

Organize your review so that an introductory paragraph summarizes the major findings of the article, gives your overall impression of the paper, and highlights the major shortcomings. This paragraph should be followed by specific, numbered comments, which, if appropriate, may be subdivided into major and minor points.

The report should answer the following questions:

  • is the manuscript suitable for the Journal?
  • is it written according to the Journal's instructions (see Manuscript Organization)?
  • have the authors previously published a similar paper and are there already many reports on the same topic published by other authors?
  • what are the major claims and how significant are they?
  • are the claims novel and convincing?
  • are the claims appropriately discussed in the context of earlier literature?
  • is the study of interest to more than a specialised audience?
  • does the paper stand out in some way from the others in its field?
  • are there other experiments that would strengthen the paper?

For manuscripts that may merit further consideration, it is also helpful if referees can provide advice on the following points where appropriate:

  • how the clarity of the writing might be improved (without necessarily going into specific details of spelling and grammar).
  • how the manuscript might be extended or shortened.
  • how to do the study justice without overselling the claims.
  • how to improve the presentation of methodological detail so that the experiments can be reproduced.
  • what experiments the authors could conduct to strengthen the research.

The manuscript should be rated according to interest, novelty, technical quality and suitability. Additional comments to the editor need to include:

  • a definite recommendation regarding publication (which should be clearly marked in the Referee's note)
  • an assessment of how much any suggested additional experiments would improve the manuscript, and how difficult they would be to complete within a reasonable timeframe (3 months)
  • in cases where the manuscript is unacceptable in its present form, an opinion about whether the study is sufficiently promising to encourage a new submission in the future.

Reviewers' recommendations are gratefully received by the editor; however, since editorial decisions are based on evaluations derived from several sources, reviewers should not expect the editor to consider every recommendation.

Conflict of Interest

We rely on the reviewers to detect a breach of publication policy or ethical conduct before publication. Some of the items you should be alert for include plagiarism, missing or incomplete attestation, dual submission and/or publication. We try to avoid referees who: have recent or ongoing collaborations with the authors, have commented on drafts of the manuscript, are in direct competition, have a history of dispute with the authors, or have a financial interest in the outcome. However, the Editorial Office may not be aware of the existence of such a situation, therefore we expect the reviewer to inform us about the possibility of a conflict of interest.

If members of Editorial Board or their close colaborators appear as authors submitting to the journal, they are then excluded from the entire process of evaluation. According to Journal's policy, manuscripts are never sent to reviewers from the same institution or country as the authors.