Date published: 11 October 2019 (version 1)
The Cochrane BJMT Group’s peer review process adheres to the Cochrane Peer Review Policy.
Cochrane peer review policy statement
“The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) is a peer-reviewed publication, which means that every Cochrane Review is evaluated by one or more specialists external to the Cochrane Review Group (CRG) editorial team before publication, and the Cochrane Review authors have the opportunity to revise the Cochrane Review in response to feedback.”
Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma (BJMT) peer review process
We invite at least one peer reviewer with topic expertise to comment on our new protocols and reviews before publication. The decision to invite peer review for updated or amended protocols and reviews is based on an assessment of the extent of the changes. In particular, we are interested in comments on the health / health-care context of the Cochrane Review as the methods will be assessed by an editor or designated other. Peer reviewers are provided with a checklist containing guidance on the areas that we would like them to comment on. We usually ask for the feedback to be returned within 2 to 3 weeks. We use a named (open) peer review process where the Cochrane Review author and peer reviewer know each other’s names and affiliations during the process. However, an exception would/could be made if any peer reviewer suspects scientific misconduct, on which they should inform the BJMT Managing Editor.
Staff roles in the peer review process
The peer review process is co-ordinated by the BJMT Managing Editor, with oversight from the Co-ordinating Editor. It is the responsibility of the Co-ordinating Editor, or another Editor where designated, to review the collated peer review feedback, advise the Cochrane Review authors how to revise the manuscript and ensure that all relevant peer review comments have been addressed by the authors satisfactorily. The Editorial Team are under no obligation to undertake any further editorial steps until they are able to check via the author’s response document(s) that the authors have considered all the points raised at peer review and have submitted a corrected version of their protocol or review.
Consumer peer reviewer
We aim to include at least one consumer peer reviewer per Cochrane review or protocol. Consumer peer reviewers are provided with checklist and guideline notes and are asked concentrate on the relevance of the Cochrane Review to them and other people with similar health issues or healthcare needs worldwide. Consumer reviewers are exempt from the named peer review process and may remain anonymous if they wish to do so.
Acknowledgement and credit for peer reviewers
Peer reviewers are always offered the option of acknowledgement in the Review to which they contributed and are the listed on the BJMT’s website, unless the peer reviewer has not consented to one or both of these.
Declarations of potential conflicts of interest for peer reviewers
Peer reviewers must declare any potential conflicts of interest every time they undertake peer review of a Cochrane Review. Guidance on declarations of interest for peer reviewers is available; see Declarations of potential conflicts of interest for peer reviewers: implementation information.
Peer reviewer conduct
Upon acceptance of an invitation to peer review a manuscript, the peer reviewer will be made aware of, and asked to follow, the Committee on Publication Ethics’ Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers. Peer reviewers are also sent the following summary of the requirements relating to conduct as established by Cochrane (Jun 26, 2019).
“In summary, peer reviewers should:
• only agree to review manuscripts for which they have the subject expertise required to carry out a proper assessment and which they can assess in a timely manner.
• 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 for their own or any other person’s or organization’s advantage, or to disadvantage or discredit others.
• declare all potential conflicting interests, seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest.
• not allow their reviews to be in 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 in 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 and a true representation of their expertise.
• recognize that impersonation of another individual during the review process is considered serious misconduct.”
Document prepared by Dr Joanne Elliott, Managing Editor, Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group.