AJGP > Reviewers > Peer reviewer guidelines

 

Peer reviewer guidelines

1. About the journal
Australian Journal General Practice (AJGP) is a peer-reviewed journal published monthly by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). AJGP is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of, the Committee on Publications Ethics (COPE). AJGP also adheres to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations.

Our readership includes general practitioners (GPs), general practice registrars, international medical graduates, primary care academics, specialist physicians and medical students.

2. Agreeing to act as a peer reviewer
Before agreeing to act as a peer reviewer, please ensure that you have the expertise required to review the manuscript. The peer review process is essential to ensure the integrity and quality of manuscripts. If you do not feel competent to review the manuscript, please advise the editor so the manuscript can be reassigned.

If you believe you have a conflict of interest in reviewing the manuscript, please discuss potential conflicts with the editor. This will help the editor make an informed decision about your ability to act as a peer reviewer.

Ensure that you have enough time to properly review the manuscript and that you can meet the requested deadline. The time required for each manuscript varies. If you need more time, please discuss this at the time of acceptance or as potential delays arise. If you are unable to complete the review, please let us know as soon as possible. There are no negative consequences for refusing to review a paper.

We encourage you to review the COPE Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers.

3. Confidentiality and copyright
Manuscripts provided to you for review are confidential and remain the copyright of the RACGP. The manuscript should not be distributed in any way and no details about the manuscript should be discussed with anyone except the medical editor.

After you have completed the peer review process, we ask that you carefully dispose of the manuscript; this includes deleting any soft copy from electronic storage systems such as email, computer hard drives or network servers.

4. The review process
You will be sent an email with a copy of the manuscript and access to AJGP’s ‘Reviewer Centre’ on Manuscript Central. After reading and assessing the manuscript, you will be asked to:

  • Assess the relevance of the manuscript to Australian general practice
  • Make a recommendation about publication
  • Provide specific and detailed feedback.
AJGP uses a double-blind peer review process, so you will not be told who the authors are and your review will be given anonymously to the authors. After the editors make a final decision on publication, you will be sent an email detailing that decision and copies of the de-identified reviewers’ feedback.

4.1 Relevance
To help AJGP editors select content that is useful for GPs in their day-to- day practice, please assess the importance of the manuscript to Australian GPs across their varying roles, including clinician, researcher or contributor to a specific field. If the manuscript can be changed to improve its relevance to GPs, please provide specific suggestions in your feedback.

4.2 Recommendation
Make a recommendation about whether the manuscript is suitable for publication and suggest any changes you feel are necessary. Your recommendation is advice only; the editors will make the final decision on whether to publish a manuscript.

The possible recommendations are described below:
  • Accept – the manuscript is suitable for publication with no alterations
  • Minor Revision – there are small changes that are considered essential and that the author can be relied upon to make
  • Major Revision – significant problems have been identified that the author must respond to before a decision on publication can be reached (eg statistical errors, errors of interpretation, factual errors, inappropriate format for content)
  • Reject – the manuscript is not suitable for publication in the journal and could not be altered to make it suitable (eg not relevant to readership)

4.3 Feedback
Your comments should reflect your unique perspective as a practicing GP, specialist or academic and focus on what can be done to improve the manuscript, even if it is already of high quality. Please make your suggestions as specific, detailed and constructive as possible.

There is a section for comments to the author and another section for confidential comments to the editor. Most of your comments should be in the author comments section so they can be passed to the authors to improve the manuscript or used by the editor to justify their decision on publication.
You may wish to attach a file copy of the manuscript with suggested changes identified by selecting the ‘track changes’ option.

The following questions may be helpful as a guide to writing your review (additional questions for reviewers of research articles are also listed):
  • Does the manuscript add anything to the literature already published on the topic?
  • Is the manuscript appropriately evidence-based?
  • Are conclusions and take-home messages properly based on the data evidence offered?
  • Has the author overlooked content that you feel is important?
  • Do any areas need to be revised for clarity?
  • Is the manuscript presented in a clear and logical way? If not, how can the presentation be improved?
  • Could the article be shortened or sections omitted to make it more concise?
  • Is there a structured abstract that accurately and clearly summarises the article?
  • Do you have any concerns about the possibility of plagiarism or prior publication?
  • If you are unable to appropriately comment on a section of the manuscript, would you suggest a further review from a specialist, statistician or other expert and can you suggest an appropriate person?

 Additional questions for reviewers of research articles

  • Is there a clear research question?
  • Is the research question likely to be important to Australian GPs?
  • Has ethics approval been obtained? Do you have any ethical concerns about how the research was conducted?
  • Has the existing literature been considered appropriately?
  • Is the method sound and appropriate to the research question?
  • Is the data analysed appropriately for the method?
  • Does the manuscript meet relevant reporting standards (eg. CONSORT, STROBE)?
  • Are conclusions properly based on the data/evidence offered?
  • Are there any other alternative explanations for the data that have not been explored?
  • Are there any obvious limitations to the generalisability of the findings that have not been stated?

 5. Resources