Peer review policy

Journal Policies - Peer Review Process

The Journal performs single-blind peer-review using a web-based editorial system which allows tracking, notifications, archiving of correspondence, as well as adequate procedure compliance control. Peer-review correspondence is kept for at least 3 years.

Article Submission
The corresponding author submits the paper to the Journal via a dedicated web-based editorial platform. The Journal does not accept submissions by email. Simultaneous submission of the same manuscript to different journals is not allowed and is sanctioned. Authors are reminded of the compliance to the Journal policy and the ICMJE requirements at each step of the submission by means of mandatory checklists and requests for signed disclosures.

Compliance check by Editorial Office
The Editorial Office staff perform a preliminary compliance check of the submitted paper. The paper should be compliant with the format and requirements of the Journal and with the uniform requirements of ICMJE. The Editorial Office staff verify whether patient consent, ethics committee compliance, copyright transfers and conflicts of interest disclosures and the required declarations are correctly submitted. In addition, a further check for previous publication and plagiarism is performed using an appropriate similarity check tool. If the compliance check outcome is negative, the papers is sent back to the authors.

Preliminary assessment by the Editor in Chief (EIC)
The EIC checks that the paper is adequate in terms of topic, focus, originality, priority, general quality and interest for the readership of the Journal. If such minimum requirements are not reached the paper may be rejected in-house prior to peer review.

EIC assignment to an Associate Editor (AE)
The EIC can assign the paper to himself (as a handling editor) or to an AE depending on the Editor’s specific competence and experience. A further similarity check may be performed by the Editors at this stage.

Reviewer invitation
The assigned Editor can invite external reviewers selected on the basis of their competence, knowledge, experience in the field and absence of conflicts of interest. Invitations are issued and tracked via a web-based editorial managing system. Editors may decide on the number of reviewers to be involved on a case by case basis.

Reviewer response
Reviewers who accept to review are invited to disclose any conflicts of interest and to provide a written assessment of the manuscript within 2 weeks.

Review submission
The review is submitted via a web-based editorial system that automatically notifies the Editor. The assessment is entered into a web-based electronic scoresheet with some pre-determined checkboxes and text areas for detailed comments. The review is then submitted to the journal system and the handling Editor with the reviewer’s recommendation to either reject or accept, or else, with a request for minor or major revision before the paper is reconsidered.

Journal evaluates the reviews
The Editor in Chief and the handling Editor consider the reviews, formulate an official editorial decision and notify the authors.

The editorial decision is transmitted
The EIC sends a decision email to the authors including any relevant comments. The email is usually jointly signed by the EIC and the AE.

After the first editorial decision
a) If accepted, the paper is sent to the copyeditor to start the production process.
b) If the article is rejected or sent back for revision, the EIC will include comments from the reviewers and himself in order to detail the necessary improvements that the author should perform.
c) If the paper was sent back for major revision, the paper will be subjected to a second round of peer review.
d) Where only minor changes were requested the second round of review may be performed by the Editor without further involvement from the reviewers.

Production
The accepted articles are sent to the Senior Copyeditor who will make the necessary language checks and changes. The corrected paper is sent to the authors for approval of the corrections or further amendments if required. Major changes such as author names, additional sentences, any amendments that modify the message must obtain further specific approval by the AE or the EIC. Once the final version is approved the article is typeset and proofread by the Editorial Office staff and subsequently sent to the author for the last round of proofreading and final approval for publication.