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Peer Reviewers

We request that all peer reviewers review the guidance given here and COPE's Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers prior to commencing their review.  Failure to comply with the requirements listed here and in our emails may result in your review not being used by the editorial decision-maker.

 

Identity

Sometimes a reviewer will want to involve junior researchers in the review of an article as it can be good practice and experience for that person. However, you should ensure that you obtain permission from the journal editor prior to accepting the invitation to review. The names of everyone involved in doing the review should be submitted to the editor so that the journal records accurately reflect the review process that took place. Full guidelines for peer reviewers can be found on the Committee on Publication Ethics website here.

Timeliness

We understand that our reviewers are busy so it won’t always be possible for invitations to be accepted. Please let us know as soon as possible if they need to refuse a review or if a problem arises after the invitation has been accepted. Most journal editors are grateful to receive suggestions about someone else that might be suitable to do the review if you have to decline the invitation.

Conflict of Interest

It is important to highlight to the journal editor any conflict of interest that you feel might occur if you review the paper. Please do so as discretely and as quickly as possible.

Discussion

It is important to discuss with the journal editor any concerns that you have about the paper or their specific requirements for review if you are being invited to review for the first time. Editors are usually open to discussing their expectations and journal requirements with reviewers.

Ethics

Read the COPE guidelines for peer reviewers and visit the Ethics page of this Reviewer Gateway for more information about ethics matters related to peer review.

Confidentiality

Peer reviews are carried out as single-blind peer reviews.  This means that the identities of the peer reviewers must never be disclosed to the authors, either during the review process or at any time afterwards including following publication.  SAGE will take reasonable steps to keep your identity confidential. We request that reviewers respect the confidentiality of peer review and do not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer review process.

If you have concerns about the paper that are outside the scope of these principles you should either include them in your confidential comments to the editorial decision-maker when you upload your report or contact peerreviewsupport@sagepub.com, and we'll forward them to the responsible editorial-decision maker (either the editor in chief or associate editor). 

Your review must be a minimum of one large paragraph in length and must demonstrate full and objective critical engagement with the paper

 

What to Look For

Relevance to the publication

The paper under review should fit comfortably within the aims and scope of the journal it has been submitted to. It should not be likely to bring the journal into disrepute should it be published owing to the paper's content or the content of other papers published elsewhere by the same authors.

Significance of the research within the field.

Originality of the work conducted. It is also important to consider whether the author has ever published a substantially similar paper elsewhere (if you suspect the work may not be original, please view our ethics page for information about how to deal with a variety of situations).

Scientific Quality and Credibility. The arguments and conclusions of the paper under review should be valid and supported by data reported in the paper or referenced in other sources.  The paper under review should be of a tone appropriate to a scientific journal. Papers should not be penalised for reporting negative research findings. 

The methodology employed during the research.

Technical accuracy.

Validation of Data. Recognizing the inherent limitations in fully addressing this point through the peer review process, we request that reviewers comment on any hindrances in reproducing results reported in the paper under review.

Ethical considerations. If you have any ethical concerns (including but not limited to ethical approval, plagiarism or image manipulation) please add these to your peer reviewer report.

Structure and Communication

Accuracy of references.

Structure of the paper overall, communication of main points and flow of argument.

Quality of written language and structure of the article. The paper under review should read without difficulty.  Reviewers should not proof-read the paper or provide a list of English amendments.  If the paper under review reads badly you should only recommend copy editing as a condition of acceptance, using the tick-box provided for this purpose.  Papers accepted for publication are professionally proof-read prior to publication.  Poor English alone does not justify rejection of a paper unless it hinders full and accurate evaluation.

Effectiveness of the article abstract and introduction (some journals will request that authors write structured abstracts, so it may be useful to consult other published papers or the manuscript submission guidelines to help you judge the effectiveness of this section of the paper).

Whether the argument is clear and logical and the conclusions presented are supported by the results or evidence presented.

Whether the title of the article is suitable or effective.

Whether the abstract is a good summary of the article.

Whether the work meets with the article types accepted by the journal.

The accessibility of the paper to a broad readership.

Whether the paper is internally consistent.

Feedback in your reviewer report - giving advice to authors and suggesting revisions

Be as objective as possible in your comments and criticisms and avoid making negative comments about work referenced in the article.

Be specific and as constructive as possible in your criticism. Be clear about what needs to be added or revised.

If relevant, make suggestions about additional literature that the author might read to enrich or improve their arguments.

You should ensure that you are clear which of your comments you are happy for the author to see and which are meant specifically for the journal editor in order to avoid confusion or bad feeling.

While peer reviewers should feel free to make general comments on written quality and make suggestions about how articles might be improved by broadening reading of other literature, it is not the job of the peer reviewer to rewrite articles or suggest detailed changes to wording. SAGE provides useful information for authors in our Author Gateway including details about Language Editing Services.

Making a Decision

Do not include explicit statements on whether the paper should be published or not in the text of your review.  A separate part of the review submission webpage is provided for your editorial recommendation. 

Editing Manuscript Files

Please note we do not accept edited manuscripts from peer reviewers.  Under the single-blind peer review process reviewers' identities are concealed from authors.  Edited manuscripts usually contain metadata that may allow authors to identify peer reviewers.  We cannot consistently conceal or remove this metadata nor can we be certain that it cannot be restored.

The deadline for completion of your peer review is in the email you were sent inviting you to undertake the review.  You may request a deadline extension, but in the absence of any requested extension your review will be expected on or before the stated deadline. 

Peer reviews are carried out as single-blind peer reviews.  This means that the identities of the peer reviewers must never be disclosed to the authors, either during the review process or at any time afterwards including following publication.  SAGE will take reasonable steps to keep your identity confidential. 

We request that reviewers respect the confidentiality of peer review and do not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer review process.

All peer reviewers must comply with COPE's Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers.  We recommend that any reviewers not already familiar with them should read COPE's guidelines.  We draw to reviewers' attention the basic principles listed on page 1 of the COPE guidelines, which are summarized below.  Peer reviewers should:

  • Only carry out reviews where they have the expertise and time available to do so properly
  • Respect the confidentiality of peer review and not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer review process, beyond those that are released by the journal
  • Not use information obtained during the peer review process to their own advantage nor to the disadvantage of others
  • Declare all potential conflicting interests
  • Not allow their reviews to be influenced by the origins of a manuscript, by the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, or by commercial considerations
  • Be objective and constructive in their reviews
  • Refraining from being hostile or inflammatory and from making libellous or derogatory personal comments
  • Acknowledge that peer review is largely a reciprocal endeavour and undertake to carry out their fair share of reviewing and in a timely manner
  • Provide personal and professional information that is accurate representation of their expertise
  • Recognize that impersonation of another individual during the review process is considered serious misconduct

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