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Arch Craniofac Surg > Volume 20(6); 2019 > Article
Chung: Peer review and roles of the reviewer
Peer review refers to the process through which scientific papers are evaluated by professionals in related academic fields. In scientific journals, peer review is used to determine whether a submitted paper is suitable for publication in terms of its scientific value. As such, the outcomes of peer review are a major determinant of whether articles are published in scholarly journals. Peer review, which is distinctively characterized by horizontal evaluation by peers, is considered to be one of the fairest ways to assess the quality of papers.
Peer review methods vary from journal to journal, and can be generally divided into three methods: single-blind review, double-blind review, and open review. Blind review is a common practice, as it guarantees reviewers’ anonymity, enabling them to provide bold and candid reviews. In double-blind review, both the authors and the reviewers are anonymous, meaning that papers are evaluated based only on their academic value. Through blind review processes, journals can achieve an objective degree of fairness in terms of the papers they publish, and authors can feel confident of their papers being fairly reviewed. Most journals therefore use single- or double-blind review [1].
Despite the numerous advantages of blind review, this method is accompanied by delays, difficulties in terms of costs, and challenges in finding reviewers. A significant load may be placed on certain reviewers. Given these issues, author-guided open peer review and post-publication review have emerged as alternatives. In author-guided open peer review, authors recommend professionals who will review their papers. As a result, papers undergo dynamic evaluations, high-quality reviews are provided, and collaboration between authors and reviewers can be encouraged. This review method can be especially useful if too few reviewers are available. Despite the generally beneficial role of peer review, problems associated with the peer review process include delayed reviews, bias on the part of reviewers, and plagiarism. Therefore, post-publication review has received attention as a new alternative.
The paper review process of Archives of Craniofacial Surgery starts with the submission of papers to the journal editor through the e-submission system. If a paper is judged to be at an appropriate level for publication in the journal, the editor selects three peer reviewers and the review process is conducted. The initial decision is generally made within 3 weeks after the reviewers decide whether to review the paper, and the corresponding author is notified.
The reviewer has two main roles. One is to evaluate the value of the paper for publication. According to international standards, options include “accept,” “accept pending revisions,” “reconsider after major revisions,” and “reject.” The reviewer’s other role is to provide constructive criticism to the authors of the paper under review.
The following three reasons may cause a reviewer to agree to accept a paper: first, the paper is timely and relevant to the latest research trends; second, the paper is easy to read, logical, and well-written; and third, the research design and methods are scientifically reasonable. However, papers can be rejected for the following six reasons; first, the paper is incomplete in terms of its statistical analysis; second, the paper interprets results in an exaggerated way; third, the methods are suboptimal or insufficiently described; fourth, the sample size is too small; fifth, the manuscript is written in a way that is too difficult to understand; and sixth, there is an insufficient description of the paper’s limitations [2]. Being aware of these desiderata will be helpful for reviewers, researchers, and authors.
A reviewer should avoid replying too late about his or her choice to review a paper, because this is a major reason for delaying the decision on a paper. The content of reviews should not be generic or noninformative. A review should include a critical analysis of the paper and its fundamental components [3].
The final decision on whether a paper is to be published is made by the journal’s editor or editorial board. The role of a reviewer is not to decide whether to publish a paper, but to advise the editor about the decision. Cooperative collaboration between the editor and reviewers enables the publication of excellent papers and promotes improvements in journal quality.

Notes

Conflict of interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

REFERENCES

1. Publishing Research Consortium. Peer review in scholarly journals: an international study into the perspective of the scholarly community [Internet]. Bristol, Mark Ware Consulting Ltd. c2017;[cited 2019 Dec 20]. Available from: http://publishingresearchconsortium.com/index.php/112-prc-projects/research-reports/peer-review-in-scholarly-journals-researchreport/142-peer-review-in-scholarly-journalsperspective-ofthe-scholarly-community-an-internationalstudy.

2. Bordage G. Reasons reviewers reject and accept manuscripts: the strengths and weaknesses in medical education reports. Acad Med 2001;76:889–96.
crossref pmid
3. Chung KJ. Peer review processes and desirable attitudes for peer reviewers. Arch Plast Surg 2017;44:177–8.
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