Definition of a Peer-Reviewed Journal

  • Prof. Dr. Syed Muhammad Awais


A comprehensive policy on publication ethics has been published by the World Association of Medical Edi-tors (WAME), which addresses all the major areas of ethics which all contemporary science journals should consider. The Annals of King Edward Medical Uni-versity will publish different parts of WAME’s public-cation policy for its readers, authors and reviewers.     Definition of a Peer-Reviewed Journal A peer – reviewed biomedical journal is one that regu-larly obtains advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers who are not part of the journal’s editorial staff. Peer review is intended to improve the accuracy, clarity, and completeness of published manuscripts and to help editors decide which manuscripts to pub-lish. Peer review does not guarantee manuscript qua-lity and does not reliably detect scientific misconduct.       Peer reviewers should be experts in the manu-script’s content area, research methods, or both; a criti-que of writing style alone is not sufficient. Peer revie-wers should be selected based on their expertise and ability to provide high quality, constructive, and fair reviews. For research manuscripts, editors may, in addition, seek the opinion of a statistical reviewer.       Peer reviewers advise editors on how a manuscript might be improved and on its priority for publication in that journal. Editors decide whether and under whi-ch conditions manuscripts are accepted for publication, assisted by reviewers’ advice.       Peer reviewers are sometimes paid for their efforts but usually provide their opinions free of charge, as a service to their profession. Editors should require all peer reviewers to disclose any conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, related to a particular manu-script and should take this information into account when deciding how to use their review. Generally speaking, people with a direct financial interest in the results of the manuscripts should not be reviewers.       To be considered peer reviewed, a journal should have obtained external reviews for the majority of manuscripts it publishes, including all original rese-arch and review articles. Some editors request peer re-view for other kinds of articles, such as opinion pieces (commentaries / editorials) and correspondence. To have been peer reviewed, a manuscript should have been reviewed by at least one external reviewer; it is typical to have two reviewers and sometimes more opinions are sought.       Editors of peer-reviewed journals need not send all submitted manuscripts out for review. Manuscripts that seem unlikely to be published in that journal may be returned to authors without external review, to allow authors to submit the manuscript to another jou-rnal without delay and to make efficient use of revie-wers’ and editors’ time.       Editors should state their journal’s peer review policies, including which kinds of article are peer re-viewed and by how many reviewers, in the instructions for authors. Editors should also periodically publish statistics describing their journal’s review process, such as number of manuscripts submitted, acceptance rate, and average times from manuscript submission to rejection letter to authors and, for accepted manusc-ripts, time to publication.   Acknowledgments The “Definition of a Peer – Reviewed Journal”, is reproduced from “Policy Statements” published by the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). (