Guidance for Peer Reviewers

On this page → Briefing for Peer ReviewersPrinciples of Peer ReviewCompletion DeadlineConfidentiality

  • Before starting verify that you are free from any conflicts of interest and that you are aware of our confidentiality requirements.

  • Assess the paper with reference to the principles of peer review.  If you have concerns about the paper that are outside the scope of these principles you should either include them in your confidential comments to the editorial decision-maker when you upload your report or contact , who will forward them to the responsible editorial-decision maker (either the editor in chief or associate editor).

  • Your review must be a minimum of one large paragraph in length and must demonstrate full and objective critical engagement with the paper. 

  • Do not include explicit statements on whether the paper should be published or not in the text of your review.  A separate part of the review submission webpage is provided for your editorial recommendation. 

  • Failure to comply with the requirements listed here and in our emails may result in your review not being used by the editorial decision-maker.

Peer reviewers are asked to provide to authors with thoughtful, objective, and unbiased reviews with the fundamental aims of verifying that the conclusions of papers are valid and supported by the data and that papers achieve reasonable standards of scholarliness and intelligibility.  Peer reviewers should approach these aims with reference to to the principles described below.

Principle One: Scientific Quality and Credibility

The arguments and conclusions of the paper under review should be valid and supported by data reported in the paper or referenced in other sources.  The paper under review should be of a tone appropriate to a scientific journal. Papers should not be penalised for reporting negative research findings. 

Principle Two: Readability and Presentation

The paper under review should read without difficulty. If the paper under review reads badly you should recommend copy editing as a condition of acceptance.  Poor English alone does not justify rejection of a paper unless it hinders full and accurate evaluation.

Principle Three: Suitability for the Journal

The paper under review should fit comfortably within the aims and scope of the journal it has been submitted to. It should not be likely to bring the journal into disrepute should it be published owing to the paper's content or the content of other papers published elsewhere by the same authors.

Principle Four: Validation of Data

Recognizing the inherent limitations in fully addressing this point through the peer review process, we request that reviewers comment on any hindrances in reproducing results reported in the paper under review.

Principle Five: Disqualified Content

Papers under review containing content that is unscholarly or regarded by most reasonable people as psuedo-science are not acceptable for publication under any circumstances.  If the paper under review contains any such material declare it in your review and recommend rejection.  Disqualified content includes but is not limited to homeopathy, creationism, and supernatural phenomena.

Principle Six: Ethical Considerations

Libertas requires authors to confirm that they have complied with applicable ethical requirements around identifiable human subjects and experiments involving humans and animals, both when their paper is submitted and prior to publication.  Editorial decision-makers (the editor in chief or associate editor) also look closely at these matters.  If you have concerns about these areas you may add them to your peer review report.

Principle Seven: Integrity of images

Reviewers may recognize signs that images have been manipulated.  If any of the images presented with the manuscript give the appearance of having been manipulated in violation of the guidelines given here please inform us.

Principle Eight: Referencing and Plagiarism

All submissions to Libertas journals are scanned using iThenticate.  However no scanner is entirely accurate so we ask reviewers to be vigilant for this when reviewing the manuscript. If you detect what you believe to be plagiarised material please email before proceeding further with your review.  Instances of plagiarism we are notified of during peer review are forwarded to the editorial decision-maker, who will determine how to proceed.  We do not consider publication of a scientific poster or deposition of a pre-print in an archive by the same authors to constitute plagiarism.

Principle Nine: Editorial Recommendation

Reviewers may optionally include an editorial recommendation.  Publishing decisions are made by the editorial decision-maker on the basis of their own and the peer reviewers' evaluations.  While they are discouraged from doing so in some instances the editorial decision-maker may decide not to follow a reviewer's editorial recommendation.

The deadline for completion of your peer review is in the email you were sent inviting you to undertake the review.  You may request a deadline extension, but in the absence of any requested extension your review will be expected on or before the stated deadline. 

All peer reviews are carried out as blind peer reviews.  This means that the identity of the peer reviewers must never be disclosed to the authors, either during the review process or at any time afterwards including following publication.  Libertas will take reasonable steps to keep your identity confidential. 

Disclosure of your identity as the reviewer of a specified paper can seriously undermine the integrity of the peer review process and is never permitted under any circumstances.  If your identity is disclosed your report will not be used and the editor in chief will be informed.  At the discretion of the editor in chief, it may also lead to investigation under any applicable COPE rules and in some cases by your institution/employer.

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What Your Colleagues Say About Libertas Academica
I am definitely impressed by the manner with which Libertas Academica handled the publication of our research paper.  The prompt reviews and other processes involved is a credit to the competence and experience of staff of Libertas Academica.  Most outstanding is the friendly communications from the staff which kept us informed all the way through, providing guidance on our submission as it passed through a most rigorous peer review.   I would recommend Libertas ...
Associate Professor Nnodimele Onuigbo Atulomah (Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Nigeria)
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