ASHA's journals are always seeking qualified, dedicated reviewers to assist with the manuscript review process. The vitality of the journals program depends on the willingness of volunteers to serve in this important role. Below you'll find information about becoming a reviewer, reviewing online, and giving a quality review.
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As a reviewer for an ASHA journal, you will use the online system, ScholarOne Manuscripts, to read and review the manuscript. The steps you will take to complete your online review are listed below:
The quality of the journal is directly linked to the quality of the reviews. Here are some guidelines to providing thorough, constructive input to the editors and authors, ultimately adding substantive scholarly work to the journal. You will have three parts to fill out in an online review.
Comments for the Author
Provide the bulk of your review here. Include all comments which might help the author(s) improve the manuscript. You can copy & paste your comments from a saved word processing file into the Comments for the Author box. Correct any formatting changes that may have taken place before submitting.
Comments for the Associate Editor
The other box is for confidential comments to the AE (please be advised that the editor and the administrator will be able to read your comments in both boxes). The AE will be able to read all of the Comments for the Author. In the AE box, you may include a statement about your recommendation, or something which would not be constructive for the author, such as "I was really leaning towards reject, but I feel like there's something valuable there. If the author were to significantly rewrite the paper I think it could be publishable at some point." Many reviewers include a brief note for the AE in this box. Others leave it blank. Either one is fine, but please do not copy your comments to authors into this box.
Accept paper in its present form. Some minor copy-editing may still be required, but it will be caught at the copyediting stage so the authors need not submit a revision.
Minor revision. The manuscript is generally good but requires minor content and/or editorial changes before its suitable for publication. Revised manuscripts do not require another review by the reviewers.
Major revision. The paper contains one or more serious problems in substance or form, whose resolution might result in a generally acceptable manuscript. Resubmitted manuscripts typically are reviewed again by the associate editor and reviewers. This category applies only to manuscripts that contain important information to begin with, whose flaws might be correctable.
Reject paper. The content, style, and/or preparation of the manuscript are flawed to the extent that it is unlikely that revisions can render the manuscript suitable for publication. The content of the manuscript is unsuitable or inappropriate for the journal (in which case the editor may determine to withdraw the manuscript).
Evaluate a manuscript for:
*Reviewers are encouraged to evaluate the information about the participantsí race, ethnicity, gender, age, language(s) spoken, country of origin when it is not the USA, and indicators of socio-economic status.
Clinical studies appearing in ASHA journals must meet recognized standards for reporting. Articles reporting randomized clinical trials must follow the Consolidated Standards for Reporting Trials (CONSORT), nonrandomized clinical evaluations must follow the Transparency of Reporting Evaluations of Nonrandomized Designs (TREND), and studies of diagnostic accuracy must meet the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy (STARD). Authors should find these standards useful as guides in designing and implementing their studies; however, it is recognized that the standards apply directly to the reporting of studies rather than to their implementation.
Manuscripts submitted to ASHA journals are privileged information. They are confidential and must not be discussed with anyone other than the journal editor and the assigned associate editor. Occasionally, a reviewer must consult with colleagues on some aspect of a paper, such as the statistical analysis. Such consultations should occur only with the editorís or associate editorís permission and without providing the authorís identity or details of the manuscriptís content. After the final publication decision has been made, reviewers should destroy their copies of the manuscript.
For the purpose of training PhD students in the peer review process, a manuscript reviewer/mentor may engage a PhD student in the review process under the mentorís guidance. The mentor bears full responsibility for the review. The PhD student will be bound by the same principles of confidentiality that govern the review process as a whole. It is the responsibility of the mentor to inform the journal editorial administrator, the Editor, and AE of the menteeís identity. The editorial administrator will enter the information into the manuscript administrative record.
When reviewing supplementary material provided with a manuscript, editors, associate editors, and reviewers should consider the materialís significance, relevance, and clarity. The material should enhance the published article in a meaningful way, without being necessary for the article to be understood. Supplementary materials should not be used as a way to provide extraneous or unnecessary details about participants and methods.
When reviewing an example provided on video or audio, check whether a statement has been provided about the representativeness of the example (e.g., "in this ideal case...." or "in this case selected because it represents the mean performance of the group..."). Just as there are standards for published figures, there should be some level of quality expected for video examples.
If you cannot open a supplementary material file to review it, mention this fact in the confidential comments to the associate editor upon returning manuscript feedback.
You may choose to organize your review into three major areas. Brief Summary. Briefly summarize the main argument, evidence and conclusion of the paper. This may help to clarify the issues in your own mind, and it often helps illuminate disagreements on factual matters among the reviewers. End this section with a brief statement about an overall impression, but do not provide a specific recommendation with regard to publication (i.e. do not make a statement like "this paper should be accepted" in the comments to the authors).
General comments and overall evaluation. Say whether you find the topic to be an interesting and important one, whether the background review of the literature is sufficient and accurate, whether the methods are sound (appropriate research design, procedures, and data analyses), whether the results are compelling, and whether the conclusions are warranted. Comments on overall clarity and organization of the text can be included as well.
Line-by-line comments. This section is for corrections or comments on specific points. Such comments are often very helpful to authors in their revisions. Do not bury any major issues in this section; that information should be in the comments section. If your recommendation is to reject the paper, this section should not be lengthy.
Constructive criticism and suggestions for changing the paper to improve the manuscript are welcomed. Please make any recommendation for acceptance or rejection in the comments to the associate editor area, not in your comments for the author. Please maintain a tone of professional respect in your review. Criticisms should be put forth in positive ways, accompanied by specific suggestions for improvement whenever possible. Personal or derogatory language is to be avoided.
Revealing your identity
ASHA journals offer both reviewers and authors the option of revealing their identity. Reviewers who wish their identities be made known to the author may type their names in the Comments for the Author box. Please include your name only if you wish to reveal your identity.