​​JBJS Case Connector Reviewer Guidelines

Revised October 10, 2013

Providing confidential quality reviews that are useful to authors and editors is critical to ensure that JBJS Case Connector provides a valuable service to the orthopaedic community. This document describes the peer review process for these manuscripts. It provides criteria for evaluating manuscripts, instructions for preparing the reviews, the review categories and the evaluation process.

1. Overview of the peer review for JBJS Case Connector

General Principles

The Editor or a Deputy Editor assigns manuscripts received by JBJS Case Connector to Consultant Reviewers, Associate Editors, or Guest Reviewers for confidential blinded peer review. The manuscript is assigned to two or three reviewers on the basis of each reviewer's interests, areas of expertise, and prior reviewing performance.

Content review is conducted by Consultant Reviewers, Guest Reviewers, and the Boards of Associate and Consulting Editors. Consultant Reviewers are orthopaedic surgeons or physicians or scientists from other disciplines who possess special expertise and who have demonstrated their willingness to perform timely thorough manuscript reviews for JBJS Case Connector. Guest Reviewers have special experience or knowledge on a specific topic.

Review timeline

JBJS Case Connector requires that you return your review within 25 days. If you will not be able to complete your review in time, please contact JBJS Case Connector at editorial@caseconnector.org immediately. Extension can be granted if circumstances warrant. If a review has not been returned by the due date, you will receive an e-mail from JBJS Case Connector as a reminder. You may also receive an e-mail reminder before your review is due.

Please do not misunderstand this policy. JBJS Case Connector is indebted to and appreciative of all of our reviewers, and we could not function without you. However, as authors yourselves, you know the frustration resulting from a delayed decision. Returning reviews promptly is one important way in which you can help us speed the editorial process. Occasionally declining to review a manuscript is understandable, and is not viewed negatively by the editors.

Decision process

The decision to accept, invite to resubmit or reject the paper will be based on evaluations of both the content reviewers and the editor.

2. Criteria for content review

A case report should impart new information about an uncommon condition, a new or improved method of diagnosis of a particular condition, or a new or improved method of treatment of a particular condition. The case report should be presented in a succinct manner and should teach a lesson. The case should be presented in an organized manner and contain appropriate supporting figures.

A well-organized, detailed, thoughtful review will generally be provided to the author. Your review can be as critical as you judge necessary. Your review should NOT be signed, nor should it be possible to otherwise identify the reviewer. Remember, your comments should help the author(s) and should never be demeaning or pejorative. The review process allows you to enter comments in two fields: 1) a field for comments that are likely to be sent to the corresponding author, and 2) a separate field for comments intended primarily for the Editor or Deputy Editor that will not necessarily be transmitted to the author.

The review should identify the main strengths of the case report. It should contain general suggestions as to why the manuscript should, or should not, be published

A listing by separate, numbered paragraphs (with page and line reference) of specific concerns with the manuscript should follow the initial overall comments. Your specific comments are valuable to the authors in revising their work. Constructive criticism is appreciated.

The required format of numbered paragraphs with specific reference to page and line of text is useful to the Editor when he writes the decision letter to the author(s). The points you wish to question the authors on should be listed by numbered paragraphs, with reference to the appropriate page and line in the text.

It is the general policy of JBJS to require a minimum of two years of follow-up on patients when the results of an operative procedure are the subject of the paper. This policy lessens the risk of dissemination of faulty information that may lead to the widespread application of procedures that prove, over time, to be of little or no value.

This two-year follow-up policy is not always appropriate. For example, you would expect fractures to be healed by one year. Waiting for a two-year follow-up would be required when restoration of function is the prime concern.

Evaluate the bibliography to see if it contains pertinent references without being exhaustive.

You do NOT need to concern yourself with punctuation and grammar: only review the medical substance of the manuscript.

3. Decision categories for content reviewers

Manuscripts should be classified into one of four general categories, which appear in a pull-down menu in Editorial Manager's reviewer recommendation screen. Don't forget to choose your decision before pasting your comments into the text boxes. We realize that not all manuscripts fit neatly into categories; however, most manuscripts will fit into one of these categories:


An A paper is completely suitable for JBJS Case Connector and will be valued by JBJS Case Connector readers. It is educational and informative. An A paper contains all of the information needed to justify its conclusions and message. The content may need some revision or restructuring.


A B paper is of value to JBJS Case Connector readers but has flaws that must be remedied before being accepted. Much of the information concerning A papers is applicable here. The essential difference between the A and B paper is that the material is not complete in the B paper. More data or a more detailed description is needed. The content of the manuscript is of interest and the content reviewer believes that whatever is missing can be provided by the authors.


A paper is given a C+ when the manuscript in its existing form is of interest to JBJS Case Connector's readership but should be rejected due to serious concerns. With a C+ rejection, the author is invited to resubmit the paper for re-review if he or she is able to address these concerns.


This paper should not be published in JBJS Case Connector. The subject matter is not suitable for JBJS Case Connector or the content is not of significant educational value. The reviewer must believe strongly that his or her reservations concerning the manuscript are valid and that the authors cannot correct the deficiencies. Before assigning a C classification, the reviewer should be convinced that the manuscript is not suitable.

List two or three major reasons why you believe the manuscript should be rejected. If you are convinced that a manuscript should be rejected, it is neither necessary nor desirable to write as detailed a review as is needed when the author is being asked to revise the paper. Be objective and do not write pejorative comments when rendering a C decision.

4. Correspondence to authors

After all reviews have been received, the Editor or Deputy Editor will compose a letter to the corresponding author. The purposes of that letter are to inform the author of the decision, and at the same time provide the author with instructive feedback. Although the reviewers' comments are often directly quoted in the decision letter, the Editor or Deputy Editor may paraphrase in the letter comments that a reviewer directed to either the author or to the editor.

5. Evaluation of content reviewer performance

In order to meet our goal of timely and thorough review of submitted manuscripts, reviewer performance is evaluated by the Editor and the Deputy Editors, and kept in a confidential database.

Consultant Reviewers are graded on a scale of Excellent, Good, Average, or Below Average . The grades reviewers receive are averaged for an overall grade, can be lowered on the basis of the following factors:

  1. takes 50 days or more,
  2. never returns a review,
  3. consistently returns a bad review, i.e. no written comments or very few, or
  4. is not objective, and is always expressing his or her biases.

In the database, notes regarding performance are made on the reviewers' record. Reviewers with consistent scores of Below Average are removed from the reviewer listing.