Guide to Reviewers
Robust peer review is crucial to the quality and reputation of scholarly journals. Environmental Monitoring and Contaminants Research (EMCR) is extremely grateful to reviewers for contributing their time, effort, and expertise to this important process. This Guide to Reviewers provides advice for reviewers on preparing and submitting their reviews.
About the journal
Environmental Monitoring and Contaminants Research (EMCR) is an international Open Access journal focusing on the environmental distribution and fate of pollutants and their biological impacts. EMCR is published continuously online as articles are available. Annually, we expect 50 papers to be published. The journal publishes 5 types of papers, i.e., articles, letters, technical notes, reviews, and status reports. EMCR aims to build a vital store of knowledge that contributes to progress in the field and is important to its global audience of researchers. Single-blind peer review is used. EMCR is supported by the Japan Society for Environmental Chemistry. Papers in EMCR are relevant to local, regional, and global scales and, therefore, the journal is published throughout in English. Main readership of the journal is researchers in relevant fields of science who ensure the quality of EMCR. However, the readership extends to policy makers in environmental sectors, journalists, and environmental NGOs. The journal adheres to the principles and guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Conflict of interest
A robust peer review process relies on reviewer feedback that is both fair and objective. If there are actual, perceived or potential circumstances that could influence a reviewer’s ability to act impartially, a conflict of interest exists.
The Editor will try to avoid conflicts of interest when inviting reviewers to assess a manuscript. However, it can often be difficult or impossible to identify potential bias. If you have been invited to review a manuscript, please consider if your ability to judge it fairly and objectively might be influenced by circumstances such as:
- having a personal relationship with any of the authors
- having worked or published with any of the authors in the past 2 years
- having a financial interest in the work or the outcome of the manuscript
- working on the same topic or in direct competition with any of the authors
- having seen or commented on drafts of the manuscript.
A conflict of interest may not be apparent until after you have accepted the invitation to review and have begun your assessment of the manuscript. If, at any time during the review process, you believe you may have a conflict of interest with a manuscript you are reviewing, please contact the Editorial Office immediately.
EMCR aims to provide authors with efficient peer review and rapid editorial decisions. We ask reviewers to complete their reviews within 3 weeks. Please let the Editorial Office know as soon as possible if you expect your review to be delayed. This helps us to keep authors informed and to make alternative arrangements if necessary.
Reviewers should treat all manuscripts confidentially throughout the peer review process. EMCR asks reviewers to follow these guidelines at all times:
- Do not disclose your role in reviewing the manuscript.
- Do not discuss the manuscript with anyone.
- Do not use any information from an unpublished manuscript in your own research or publications.
- Do not cite any unpublished manuscripts or their contents.
- Do not reveal your identity to the authors during the peer review process without first obtaining the Editor’s approval.
EMCR maintains the confidentiality of reviewers’ identities at all times.
Writing your review
A good review is concise yet comprehensive. It serves two main purposes: to provide the Editor with enough information to determine whether the manuscript should be published in the journal; and to give authors feedback on their manuscript and, if necessary, advice on how to improve it.
Reviews are separated into three parts in ScholarOne: multiple-choice questions, comments to the author(s), and comments to the Editor.
These questions concern your overall impressions of the manuscript, such as your recommendation on its suitability for publication. The answers to these questions are shared only with the Editor, not the author(s).
Comments to the author(s)
Ideally, your review should include:
- a short summary of the manuscript and its findings
- a general overview of evaluation of the manuscript
- numbered comments that address specific criticisms about the manuscript.
When preparing your comments, consider the following aspects of the manuscript:
- Relevance: Does the work fit the journal’s scope and readership?
- Significance: Is the work worthwhile to be shared with the researchers in the field?
- Scientific quality: Are the approach, methods, design and analysis all sound?
- Written quality: Is the manuscript clearly presented?
The following questions may help you to assess each part of the manuscript:
・Does the Title accurately reflect the manuscript’s main findings?
・Does the Abstract adequately describe the background or context of the work, the objectives of the research project, the methods used, the main findings, and their relevance?
・Does the Introduction provide adequate background and context for the work?
・Have the authors presented their hypotheses clearly?
・Did the authors use appropriate methods and statistical analyses?
・Have the authors described the methods in enough detail to allow others to replicate them?
・Did the authors clearly describe the quality assurance and quality control (QA & QC) of the analytical method?
・Have the authors clearly explained and/or mitigated any caveats or limitations in their approach?
・In the case of human/animal experimentation, have the authors adhered to established codes of practice and ethics?
・Have the authors explained their results clearly and adequately?
・Is each table and figure necessary? Are there any missing?
・Are the tables and figures complete and easy to interpret?
・Are the Conclusions supported by the results?
・Have the authors considered any alternative explanations for their results?
・Have the authors made unsupported claims or inappropriate speculations?
・Are all cited references relevant and necessary? Has any relevant literature been omitted?
・Is the manuscript clearly written?
・Have the authors adhered to established codes of publication ethics?
・Are there any errors in fact, methodology, analyses or interpretations?
・Has the manuscript been published previously in any language?
When writing critical comments, make sure they are constructive and are aimed at the research, not the researchers. If you make assertions of fact, provide supporting evidence.
Comments to the Editor
Helpful comments to the Editor include:
- a summary of your comments to the author(s), to help the Editor quickly assess your review
- your recommendation regarding publication in the journal. Setting out clear arguments for or against publication is more helpful than simply stating your recommendation to accept or reject the manuscript.
- if it is not suitable for publication, any advice on how the manuscript could be improved to encourage resubmission in the future
- any concerns you may have about potential ethical violations in either the research or the manuscript.
Comments to the Editor are kept confidential and are not shared with the author(s).
Submitting your review
Submit your review to EMCR using the link provided in the Editor’s invitation email or by logging in to your account on the journal’s manuscript submission and peer review website (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/emcr). If you encounter any difficulties, please contact the Editorial Office.
Keep a copy of your review. If you recommended revision, the Editor may invite you to comment on the manuscript when it has been revised.
[Optional paragraph, depending on journal’s policy]
When the Editor makes a final decision on the manuscript, you will receive a copy of the decision letter. Reviewers’ identities remain confidential.
Environmental Monitoring and Contaminants Research (EMCR)
3-18-7-103 Koyadai, Tsukuba, IBARAKI, Japan, 305-0074
Tel: +81-298-86-3185 Fax: +81-298-86-3186