The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development - Peer Review Guide

This guide is pulled together to provide guidance to peer reviewers of the Ethiopian Journal of Health Development. The guide provides step-by-step guidance on what a peer reviewer should do to complete the review in comprehensive but timely manner for a submission. Need for additional information or any queries please contact our editorial assistant at (email).

Our philosophy on peer review

The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development maintains the motto “Providing peer review services is giving back what others owe us in our scientific uphill ride”. In view of this, our reviewers are assets themselves for scientific development in their field. They have responsibility to review manuscripts because they got to this level because others have reviewed their papers.

Yet, one of the major concern from authors as well as our journal team is the time it takes to complete the review process. This is a global problem of scientific community. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development has introduced various measures to facilitate the review processes. These includes training of reviewers and reviewers to facilitate manuscript reviews during such time and defining 15 days for the review, reminders in between, withdrawing manuscripts and sharing with other reviewers if defined time is not met, sending manuscripts to more potential reviewers etc. Yet, the problem remains to challenge us. 

The journal adapted an anonymous (blind) peer review to get candid review and comment to the submission. Two independent peer reviewers review a single submission. Under few circumstances where the editor in chief believes the submission is pretty well in meeting all scientific requirements, one blind reviewer may review. Peer reviewers of our journal are expected to comply to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. During the peer review process.

The publication process from submission to publication may take a maximum of three months depending on how complaint authors are to policies, the editorial team and reviewers. The entire publication process can be seen here.

A peer reviewer

Peer reviewer is an impartial expert in the specific field of focus with a mandate to evaluate the quality and scientific soundness a manuscript and suggest publication or deny it with reasons. The peer review process of Ethiopian Journal of Health Development follows as it stands now follows a Double blind review where both authors’ and reviewers’ identities are kept anonymous.

Peer reviewers’ technical review and comment and recommendation is an essential backdrop in informing the editor’s decision on the fate of a manuscript. Peer review ensures that manuscripts receive unbiased critique and expert feedback, allowing authors to improve their manuscript thereby it meets quality requirements of any scientific contribution. The peer reviewer’s contribution would also help readers to trust the scientific integrity of the manuscript and its impact. 

The Peer Review Process

Step 1: Timely response

Once the reviewer gets invitation he/she should respond within two days either accepting to review or sharing regrets. This stage is critical to avoid unnecessarily delay especially if the reviewer cannot take the task. 

Step II

Editor in Chiefs have no way to know who is who and who is related to whom as well as definitive idea on the current areas of reviewer’s research interest. Peer reviewers are expected to declare any conflicts of interest to review the manuscript not later than two days after receiving the document. Details on declaration of conflict of interest can be found here (1)

Step III

Peer reviewers must keep any information regarding the manuscript and its content manuscript confidential.

Step IV

Peer review comments should be objective and constructive without being hostile/too negative to the author(s)

Further information on ethical peer review issues and conflicts of interest can be found in the COPE guidelines (2).

Writing the Report

Peer reviewers are expected to assess the different sections of the manuscript: Background/introduction, objectives/questions/hypothesis, methods, results and discussions and contemporary references. 

In the first part of their report, peer reviewers should write a short summary describing their assessment of the manuscript following the form here (3).

Based the review reviewers are expected to provide the Editor-in-Chief with a recommendation on the next course of action. 

Re-review request

Peer reviewers may be requested to re-review the authors’ revised manuscript and point-by-point responses to their comments. Upon re-review, peer reviewers must ensure that all issues raised in the initial peer review report have been addressed and, if necessary, amended by the authors appropriately. Peer reviewers should once more assess the manuscript using the guidelines above and provide a revised recommendation.

Competing Interest (1)

The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development requires that all authors, peer reviewers and editors disclose all potential conflicts of interests.

The journal requires all authors, peer reviewers and editors disclose potential conflicts of interests. Authors in particular are required to complete the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest.

Editors and reviewers are also required to declare any competing interests that may help editor in chief to take appropriate action to ensure fair and neutral review.

Editors-in-Chief must declare any financial and/or personal conflict of interest for each submitted manuscript. Under circumstances where there is conflict of interest to process the submission, guest editor would process the particular manuscript of interest.

Editorial decisions for manuscripts that are commissioned or solicited by the Editor-in-Chief will not be processed by guest Editor-in-Chief. Where the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor, or Editorial Board member submits a paper to the Journal, the policy is that another Editor on that journal is responsible for making the editorial decision. In such cases, three independent peer-review comments are required.

The authors should consider the following questions when completing their competing interest declaration:
Financial competing interests
Make sure the following are taken care of:

Did author(s) received any funding from an organization that may have a financial interest in the manuscript?

Did author(s) reported/acknowledged organizations that may have financial interest in the publication of this manuscript?

Does the content of the manuscript relate to any patents and has this been well acknowledged?

Did author(s) received any funding or salary from an organization that may hold or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript?

Do they have any other financial competing interests?

Non-financial competing interests
Are there any non-financial competing interests to declare in relation to the manuscript? Examples of non-financial competing interests include family associations, political, religious, academic or any other.

If the authors are unsure as to whether they, or one their co-authors, has a competing interest, they should discuss this with the editor.

The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development subscribes to the general intent of the principles adopted by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on the control of data in publications arising from sponsored research. The author submitting a manuscript for any study funded by an organization with a proprietary or financial interest in the outcome shall have access to all the data in that study, and to have complete responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the data as well as the decision to publish