Pediatrics Reviewer Guidelines
Message from the Editorial Board
We hope the following guidelines developed by our editorial board members and staff will help you in the preparaion of your manuscripts reviews. We welcome your feedback, and if there are additional areas that we have neglected to include, let us know by emailing us at PediatricsEditorial@aap.org.
The Editorial Board of Pediatrics
What Makes a Good Review?
The reviewer is tasked with providing a timely, balanced critique of the manuscript that assesses the quality of the manuscript and ensures that the research that is published is sound. Following are some “dos” and “don’ts” for reviewing:
- Be familar with the journal's author guidelines.
- Respect intellectual property rights
- Maintain confidentiality about the contents of the manuscript.
- Be aware that your role is advisory and the decision to publish an article is based on many factors, which include the quality of the article as well as overall interest to the readership.
- Provide your review in a timely manner and with clarity and balance.
- Be collegial and constructive. Provide comments that will help to improve the quality of the manuscript.
- Provide an overview and then address all sections of the manuscript.
- Support your opinions with objective evidence of what is or is not in the manuscript (versus "I hate/love this paper").
- In the section labelled “comments to the editors”, inform us as to whether or not you feel comfortable providing an evaluation of the statistical methods. You have been selected to review the manuscript because of your expertise in the content area of the manuscript and we value your opinion.
- If you cannot critically appraise the statistical methods, it is still helpful to us if you prove a review of the other sections of the manuscript.
- DO NOT review if you have a conflict of interest. There are many types of conflict of interest, including intellectual (e.g., having a strong belief that makes it difficult for you to evaluate the reported findings), financial (e.g., gaining a financial benefit if the work is either published or not published), or personal (e.g., having a personal or professional relationship with one or more of the authors that makes it difficult to fairly evaluate the work). Reviewers are selected because they are experts in the field. Therefore, it is common for there to be questions about potential conflict of interest. If you are unsure about whether you should recuse yourself, please contact the editors to evaluate the situation.
- DO NOT contact an author without the editor's permission.
- DO NOT break the embargo of an article prior to its publication.
Becoming a Reviewer
If interested in reviewing, please send a letter of interest and curriculum vitae along with “key words,” phrases, or topics that you would be interested in reviewing.
Reviewers are selected on the basis of their expertise in a subject area, then emailed with a request to review. You must select the Accept link in the email invitation in order to review. If you do not have time to review the manuscript, links are provided in the invitation email allowing you to decline the invitation and to specify why (e.g., too busy, conflict of interest, not your field). Once you accept the invitation, the manuscript appears in your Reviewer Center. Please note that if you do not respond to the invitation within 5 business days, the invitation to review may be rescinded in order to select another reviewer. Should that occur, and you still wish to review the paper, please email the editorial office to see if additional reviewers are still needed.
You can also email the editorial office if you would like to recommend a colleague who specializes in the field as an additional reviewer. Please include at least your colleague’s first name, surname, and email address.
Before Agreeing to Review
- Ensure that are able to conduct the review within 3 weeks of acceptance of the invitation. The editorial board tries to minimize the amount of time that manuscripts are under review. Should the journal receive a sufficient feedback from other reviewers before the 3-week deadline, the editors may choose to make a decision on the manuscript before all reviews are received. All reviewers will be notified by e-mail when a decision is made. Please note: At that time, the manuscript and score sheet will no longer be accessible in your reviewer center. Therefore, if you still wish to submit comments, you may e-mail them to the editorial office and they will be forwarded anonymously to the authors.
- Ensure that you do not have a conflict of interest. You must not be hindered in your ability to critically and constructively evaluate the content of the manuscript.
Accessing the Manuscript
Manuscripts assigned to you for review are listed in the “Awaiting Reviews” list in your Reviewer Center. You can view the manuscript by clicking on the manuscript title. To access the score sheet, click “Perform Review.”
Conducting the Review
There are two options to view the manuscript:
- Download and print the manuscript.
- Read directly from your screen: If you wish to view the manuscript and the review form simultaneously, click on the manuscript title; it will open in a new window. Leave the new window open, switch back to the main window, and open the score sheet.
In determining a manuscript's suitability for publication, consider the following:
- Originality and relevance: The study should add something new to the literature. It should deal with an important topic and be of interest to clinicians and scientists.
- The article should be well written and well organized. It should include all relevant sections for the manuscript type (e.g., abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion).
- The methods should be clear and concise, and the statistics should be appropriate for the study design. The sample size should be adequate to address the study question. Please indicate in your review whether you feel that additional statistical review is warranted.
- Clinical Trials: Clinical trials should be registered with ClinicalTrials.gov or other primary registry.
- The journal provides guidance to authors about the publication of trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, case studies, ethics rounds, and quality improvement reports. Please review the author guidelines to be aware of the journal requirements for these types of manuscripts.
- Alternate journal: Would the manuscript be better suited to a different (e.g., subspecialty) journal? If so, feel free to suggest a specific journal.
Special Considerations by Article Type
Diagnostic Dilemmas and Clinical Reasoning: The goal of this feature is to present clinical cases that are diagnostic dilemmas and that involve the input of both generalists and subspecialists who comment as segments of the case are presented, similar to Ethics Rounds feature articles. Each case presented will generate a dialogue about unusual or complicated disease processes and will stimulate discussion about clinical reasoning. For more detailed information about this article type, please see the author guidelines.
Family Partnerships: This feature is to show the strength of the partnership working together for a purpose or outcome. We are not looking for a personal vignette that does not have a generalizable message for others to apply in their own practices. It is preferable to get a sense of all voices being heard in the piece (e.g.. the provider and family member author that make up the partnership). For more detailed information about this article type, please see the author guidelines.
Writing the Review
- Be specific in your comments and provide examples from the manuscript, including line numbers or areas of the manuscript to which you are referring. Begin by providing general comments on the manuscript. Next, provide specific comments on the individual sections of the manuscript.
- Be direct in your confidential comments to the editor.
- Do not comment on the acceptability of a manuscript for publication in your comments to the author (e.g., do not indicate that a manuscript should be accepted once suggested revisions are made). These comments will be removed from your review.
- Convey the same overall message in your comments to the editor and author (while the confidential message to the editor may be more direct, the overall message to both the editor and author should be the same).
The manuscript is a privileged document and subject to an embargo. Do not discuss the manuscript with others (e.g., colleagues, the author, the media) during or after the review process. Your role as a reviewer is also kept confidential from authors and other reviewers. Do not sign your review; any signature will be removed from the review. Please note: Reviews submitted to Pediatrics are the property of the journal. To maintain confidentiality, reviewers may not share or republish reviews elsewhere without the permission of the editors.
Communicate any suspicions of a breach of ethics to the editorial office. Do not contact the author directly. Two common areas of ethical concern include the following:
- Plagiarism is the use of previously published content (text, figures, tables, concepts, data) without permission or attribution. Previously published content must be attributed to the source with a complete, correct reference.
- Conflicts of interest: If you are aware of any author conflicts of interest (e.g., commercial affiliations, consultancies) that are not already listed on the manuscript’s title page, contact the editorial office.
For additional guidance on peer reviewer ethics, see the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers.
Trainees (students, residents) may review for the journal if they have the expertise to review the subject matter of the manuscript. They should be assisted by a senior mentor during the review process, and the mentor must sign off on the review. Trainees must abide by all reviewer guidelines, including the necessity to recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest, including intellectual (e.g., having a strong belief that makes it difficult for you to evaluate the reported findings), financial (e.g., gaining a financial benefit if the work is either published or not published), or personal (e.g., having a personal or professional relationship with one or more of the authors that makes it difficult to fairly evaluate the work).
Filling Out the Score Sheet
- Comments to Editor: Use this space for your recommendation for acceptance or rejection. These comments will not be conveyed to the author.
- Special Symbols: As with other plain text transmissions, such as e-mail, your use of special symbols is restricted. Please use symbols that are found on your keyboard and plain text notations, such as (^) for superscript. For example, you will not be able to use the symbols for Greek letters. You will need to spell these out (e.g. needs to be denoted with mu). If you will be repeatedly using a Greek letter, you can re-define the symbol (e.g., G = gamma) at the beginning of the section in which you will be using it.
Submitting the Review
You must click SUBMIT to finalize your review. If you want to pause and come back to it later, click on SAVE AS DRAFT instead. You MUST eventually click on SUBMIT to send in your form; otherwise it will remain in your Reviewer Center as a draft. You may also save the review as a file on your own computer using the cut-and-paste option.
Turning Off Reviewer Invitations
To indicate that you are temporarily unavailable to review, log in to Manuscript Central and then click on the orange triangle next to your name, which will open a drop-down menu. Select "User ID...." and then enter your unavailability in the "Unavailable Dates" section on that page.
If you wish to be permanently removed as a reviewer, email staff at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.