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Guidelines for Reviewers

 

The Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy (JNPT) disseminates evidence, translates clinically relevant knowledge, and integrates theory into education, practice, and research to advance the practice of neurologic physical therapy.  JNPT is the official quarterly publication of the Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. Prior to September 2003, JNPT was known as Neurology Report. Back issues of Neurology Report through 1992 are available in the Previous Issues archive.

 

JNPT publishes articles that contribute to the development and effective use of neurologic physical therapy. Types of articles include original research, systematic reviews, case reports, and special interest manuscripts. Included are articles related to, but not limited to examination, evaluation, prognosis, intervention, and outcomes that span the continuum from pathophysiology to ability. The journal contains original research as well as integration and interpretation from the diverse areas of study that contribute to the formulation of neurologic physical therapy.

 

 The purpose of the review is to provide expert opinion regarding the quality of the manuscript under consideration, and should also supply authors with explicit feedback on how to improve their manuscripts so that they will be acceptable for publication in JNPT. Although confidential comments to the Editor-in-Chief/Associate Editor are respected, any remarks that might help to strengthen the manuscript should be directed to the authors themselves.

 

1.    Major Strengths and Weaknesses: In composing their critique, reviewers are asked to provide a summary of the Major Strengths and Major Weaknesses of the submission based on the following review criteria:

a.       Significance: Does the manuscript address an important problem or critical barrier to progress in the field of neurorehabilitation? If this manuscript is published, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will publication of this paper change the theoretical constructs, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive the field of neurologic physical therapy? 

b.      Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the study? If the study is a pilot study or represents early stages of development, will the strategy used in the study establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

c.       Novel Contribution to the Literature: Does the manuscript challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? 

d.      Do you believe your rating would change with revision:  Yes / No

 

2.   Guiding Questions:  To address the major review criteria above, reviewers may find it helpful to consider the following questions:

  • What are the main claims of the manuscript and how significant and important are they?
  • Is the manuscript innovative and are these claims novel? If not, please specify publications with similar approaches or claims.
  • Are the claims properly placed in the context of the previous literature?
  • Is the approach sound, well-reasoned and appropriate for the study aims?  Is the methodology rigorous, adequately described and appropriate to address the stated purpose of the manuscript?
  • Do the results support the claims? If not, what other evidence is required?
  • Would any additional information improve the manuscript?
  • If the manuscript is considered unsuitable for publication in its present form, does the study itself show sufficient potential to warrant a resubmission in a revised version?
  • Have the authors fully adhered to accepted standards of ethical conduct in human/anima research?

 

3. In the case of manuscripts deemed worthy of consideration for publication, we would appreciate additional guidance from the reviewer on the following:

o   Is the manuscript written with sufficient clarity that it is understandable to non-specialists? If not, how could it be improved?

o   Have the authors provided adequate support for their claims without overselling them?

o   Have the authors cited the previous literature appropriately?

o   Does the manuscript offer sufficient methodological detail that its experiments and analyses could be reproduced?

 

4.  In the on-line review submission portal, reviewers will be asked to provide one of the following recommendations:

  • Accept the manuscript as submitted
  • Accept with Minor revision, some changes required but the manuscript is generally sound.
  • Accept with Major Revision, substantial revision is required before a final decision is reached
  • Reject and resubmit, manuscript is not acceptable as submitted, may be of interest if resubmitted in a different format.
  • Reject, manuscript does not meet criteria for originality, importance to the field, or sound methodology and revision is not likely to rectify the flaws.

 

JNPT offers authors the option to publish detailed methods as online appendices. Do any particular methods used in the manuscript warrant such publication?

 

5. Confidentiality

The review process is strictly confidential and should be treated as such by reviewers. Because the author may have chosen to exclude some people from this process, no one including colleagues or other experts in the field, should be consulted by the reviewer unless such consultations have first been discussed with the Editor-in-Chief.

 

6. Timely Review

JNPT believes that an efficient editorial process that results in timely publication provides a valuable service both to authors and to the community at large. We therefore request that reviewers respond promptly, usually within 14 days of receipt of a manuscript. If reviewers need more time, we request that they contact us promptly so that we can keep the authors informed and, if necessary, assign alternate reviewers.

 

7. Anonymity

JNPT practices blinded peer review.  We believe that this form of review is most appropriate because of the close-knit readership community we serve.  Authors are informed of the assigned Associate Editor at the time of decision notification. Authors may choose to contact the Associate Editor with queries related to the review of their manuscript.  We disapprove of any attempt on the part of authors to discover the identity of any reviewer or to contact this person directly. Reviewers are asked to adopt the same policy.

 

8. Editing Reviewers' Reports

The Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors do not edit any comments made by reviewers that are intended to be read by the authors unless the language is deemed inappropriate for professional communication or the comments contain information considered confidential. Such remarks should be reserved for the Confidential Comments to the Editor section of the review form, which is intended to be read only by the Editor-in-Chief. Reviewers are encouraged to be honest but not offensive in their comments to authors. On the other hand, authors should not confuse frank language with unfair criticism.

 

9. Competing Interests

·   To the extent possible we respect requests by authors to exclude reviewers whom they consider to be unsuitable. We also, as much as possible, try to rule out those reviewers who may have an obvious competing interest, such as those who may have been collaborators on other projects with the authors of the manuscript under review, those who may be direct competitors, those who may have a known history of antipathy with the author(s), or those who might profit financially from the work. However it is not possible for all such competing interests to be known by JNPT, so reviewers who recognize a potential competing interest must inform the Editor-in-Chief and recuse themselves if they feel they are unable to offer an impartial review.

·   On occasion, reviewers may be asked to offer their opinion on a manuscript that they may have previously reviewed for another journal. This is not in itself a competing interest, it does not in any way decrease the validity of that opinion and may perhaps even enhance it.

 

10. Feedback to Reviewers

We send reviewers' comments along with the decision letter to all reviewers of that manuscript. Reviewers who may have offered an opinion not in accordance with the final decision should not feel that their recommendation was not duly considered or that their service not appreciated. Experts often disagree, and it is the job of the Editor-in-Chief/Associate Editors to make a final publication decision.

 

Thank You!

We offer sincere thanks to all our reviewers.  Your contribution of time and expertise are highly valued and we hope you will continue to support JNPT in this way.