Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease

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The Editorial Review Process of the Journal of Lower Genital
Tract Disease (JLGTD)

Deciding to accept a review assignment
Reviewers have complete editorial independence in evaluating a manuscript. They may
decline to review it when they 1) cannot evaluate the topic, 2) cannot devote adequate
time to the review, or 3) have a bias either for or against an author or subject.  
JLGTD wants reviewers to submit reviews within 14 days after accepting the assignment.
If a reviewer cannot, please decline or notify the editorial office for an extension as soon
as possible. If you do not, our electronic review system has an automatic mechanism to
uninvite the reviewer. Peer review takes the majority of the time a manuscript spends
between submission and publication. We try to be as efficient as possible, for the benefit of the authors.

The review process
Editorial Manager® (EM) is an online program used by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) to manage aspects of the manuscript editorial process with authors, reviewers, and editors. LWW EM tutorials for reviewers and authors:

Editor sends email request to potential reviewer, with the title and authors of the manuscript. Please accept (or decline) the assignment as soon as you can.

To accept:
  1. Go to the Editorial Manager
  2. Type your user name and password (provided in the email) and click “Reviewer” to log on
  3. Go to your “New Reviewer Invitations” and click “Accept”
  4. Once accepted, the manuscript assignment will move to your “Pending Assignments” folder where you can view, download, or print it. It will stay in this folder until you have completed your review (unless your review is late and you do not respond to 2-3 reminders, in which case the review will be withdrawn from your folder).
To submit your review:
  1. When you are ready to submit your review, click “Submit Recommendation” and fill out the online form. We strongly recommend that you save your review as a Word document and copy and paste from there into the form.
  2. There are five components to be completed:
    1. Reviewer Recommendation Term:
      Options are: Accept, Minor Revision, Major Revision, or Reject.
      Accept: you think the manuscript is ready to publish ‘as is’. This rarely used category should be reserved for manuscripts that are virtually flawless.
      Minor Revision: you think the manuscript is quite strong and should be accepted for publication, but requires some changes and editing, without further peer review.
      Major Revision:  significant, recommended changes must be made; the revised manuscript should be peer reviewed again.  This     recommendation should be used for manuscripts that have a high degree of potential for eventual publication, after significant deficiencies are corrected. Detailed Comments to the Authors are extremely important in support of this recommendation, so that the       authors can conceivably answer all the concerns in a single revision. (A recommendation in this category should not be construed as a guarantee of eventual publication. In some cases, a seemingly promising manuscript will not be adequately revised to attain the quality and level of knowledge contribution required for publication.)
      Reject: publication in JLGTD not recommended (the likelihood of successful revision is remote) For example, the topic may be of minor importance; the basic conceptual development may be extremely weak or incorrect; or the empirical work may have uncorrectable defects. Comments to the Authors should be especially polite in explaining the nature of the concerns, but the Comments to the Authors need not be as lengthy as in the previous categories. It is permissible and efficient to articulate only the most serious concerns, and to conserve reviewing energy for other manuscripts that stand to gain from more detailed reviewer input. You might address issues such as the significance of the contribution, quality and thoroughness of the analysis, clarity of presentation, practical importance, originality, depth and appropriateness for JLGTD.
    2. Overall Reviewer Manuscript Rating:
      Options are 0-100. The over all manuscript rating should be consistent with your recommendation. Think of grading in school (A=>90, B=80-89, C=70-79, D=60-69, F=<60).
    3. Manuscript Rating Questions:
      Options are 1-5
      • Importance of the subject matter under study, or review, or report
      • Contribution to a field of uncertainty/Originality of the study and results       
      • Methodology, study design, and use of statistics
      • Presentation and Interpretation of Results
      • Quality of the Discussion (based in the context of this study's results)
      • Validity of the Conclusions (based solely upon this study findings)
      • Overall Contribution to Existing Knowledge
      • Clarity of writing and communication
    4. Comments to Editor:
      Optional; these are not seen by the Authors. These should address any ethical concerns with the manuscript regarding conflict of interest, IRB approval, informed consent, or possible duplicate publication. If severe criticism is felt to be necessary, direct these comments to the editor rather than the author.
    5. Comments to Author
      Mandatory. Your critique of the submission. Be as detailed and specific as possible. (described below in Reviewer Strategy)
After your review is submitted:
  1. When all reviews are complete, the Editor makes a decision; the decision letter and all reviewer comments will be available to you in your “Completed Reviews” folder at the EM site.
Reviewer strategy
Keep in mind these Tips:
  • Do not provide an overview of the paper. The editor will read the paper too and the authors already know what’s in it!
  • Start by saying something positive about the paper, (no matter how difficult this is). Say as many positive things as the manuscript deserves, before you get into criticisms. Authors need to know what they have done well and not just what they have done poorly.
  • Then recommend ways that the manuscript could be improved (including shortening of the work).
  • Always number your comments. If you have multiple related comments, number them separately. This allows the editor and the authors to easily refer to your comments in further correspondence.
  • Record the page number (and the line number) for each comment if possible.
  • Note any major concerns or problems at the big picture level. (relating to the overall approach, the statistical methods, the interpretation of results, the quality of presentation or writing)
  • Then, present specific, detailed comments.
  • There is no need to write a conclusion to your review. Just stop when you run out of comments.
  • If you have cited any literature, provide complete reference details.
  • A good review is supportive, constructive, thoughtful, and fair. It identifies both strengths and weaknesses, and offers concrete suggestions for improvements.
  • Please ensure that comments are detailed and clear and that they are constructive in nature, even if you are recommending that the paper be rejected.
  • Be specific. For instance, when alluding to previous research to uphold an assertion about some conceptual, methodological, or substantive weakness, it is imperative to provide a complete citation so the editor and authors can locate it.
Begin with a Quick Overview:
Look for the “intellectual plot-line” of the article. Read the Abstract and then skim-read the article. As you do this, ask the major questions that are central to the review process:
  • What is the objective/purpose of this research/article?
  • Why is it important to investigate or examine the subject/topic of the article?
  • Are the Methods and Conclusions appropriate and adequate?
  • Are the findings clearly stated? (Results)
  • How does this advance knowledge in the field? (Discussion & Conclusions)
Is this within the scope of JLGTD? Would this be of interest to journal readership? If not to you, is there a segment of the journal's readership that would find it worthwhile? Are the Results newsworthy?
Is the quality of writing abysmal, unsatisfactory, satisfactory, or superb?
Are you going to Reject or not? If you are sure to Reject, your comments may be brief, and you do not need to go into detail.

Some reasons to reject a manuscript:
  • The results add nothing to the existing scientific knowledge
  • The methodology is substantially and irrevocably flawed
  • The subject matter is outside the reasonable scope of JLGTD
  • There is no reasonable expectation the manuscript can be revised to meet acceptability
If you are not likely to reject, then go back through the submission in detail. The better the paper, the finer the detail you should go into. For a paper that is excellent and needs only very minor revisions to be accepted, you might even note problems with punctuation and spelling, if they are not too numerous.

Then complete your Detailed Review and Comments:
Suggested order for in-depth review:
Start with Methods
Do the authors state their Study Design? Do you agree with their self-classification? Is the design suitable for answering the question posed?
Is the methodology clearly explained? Is there sufficient information present for you to replicate the research? Does the article identify the procedures followed? Are these ordered in a meaningful way? If the methods are new, are they explained in detail? Was the sampling appropriate? Have the equipment and materials been adequately described? Are the statistical methods and the rationale adequately described?
For primary reporting of human research, is there a statement about IRB approval or waiver? When human and nonhuman investigation/experimentation has taken place, manuscripts must state that the appropriate institutional review body granted approval
before the study was begun. The type of nonhuman subjects must be stated in the title,
abstract, key words, and Methods section of the report.
For drugs, devices, or patented procedures, the authors should state the generic or common name, followed in parentheses by the trade name (optional), city, and country of
manufacture. Brand names may only be mentioned once, and that mention can only be in Methods.

Then go back to read from Introduction to Conclusions
Is it clear what the authors are talking about? Do they make the case that this is an important area for inquiry or examination?
An early section of many articles is usually a review of the existing literature on this topic. Does the author do a good job of synthesizing the literature?
Is the groundwork adequately and clearly laid to guide readers into the topic that is being addressed? Do the authors focus on ideas, or merely on discrete facts or findings? Have they given sufficient attention to theory; the cumulative attempts at prior explanations for the questions they are investigating?  
Is the objective stated? The objective should state the research question and is often the last sentence of the introduction, or just before the description of statistical methods.
Does the results section tell a story; taking the reader from the research questions posed earlier to their answers in the data? Is the logic clear? Is the main outcome reported early in the Results?
Are the results presented both statistically and clinically meaningful? Are the statistics correct? If you are not comfortable with statistics, please advise the editor when you submit your report.
Interpretation, discussion, and conclusions of results should not be included in this section. There should be no references in Results.
Is the main outcome discussed first?
Have the authors indicated how the results relate to expectations and to earlier research? Does the author do a good job of synthesizing the published literature and placing this report in context? Does the article support or contradict previous theories?
Are there alternative explanations for the findings presented?
Is there adequate discussion of strengths, weaknesses, and limitations?
Applicability to different populations should be discussed.
What questions remain unanswered? How could future research be improved?
All discussion should be relevant to the question asked by the manuscript.
The discussion should not rehash the introduction or re-state results.
Are the conclusions supported by the Results?  Have the authors stayed within the bounds of the results their data will support? Do the results and conclusions contradict each other?
Do the authors answer the questions they set out to answer?

Then go to Tables & Figures
Are the tables and figures clear and succinct? Can they be “read” easily for major
findings by themselves, or should there be additional information provided? Are the figure and table captions clear?
Are the tables and/or figures necessary?
If tables duplicate information in the Results, should the table be eliminated, or should the words in the results be reduced?
Are they understandable? If not, could you suggest another format?
Would you suggest additional tables or figures?
Are figures of sufficient quality for reproduction in JLGTD?

Then check remainder of elements of the submission
Do you know of any additional references that authors might want to refer to and discuss?
Did you notice any references not meeting required formatting style, or containing errors?
Did you notice any references cited listed in the reference list not found in manuscript and vice versa?
Title and title page
Does the title of the paper clearly reflect its contents, and is the title succinct? Is the title misleading? Does the title agree with the Précis, the objective as stated in the abstract, the
objective as restated in the introduction to the manuscript, and the conclusions?
Does the title contain a brand name?
Does the Précis properly capture the essence of the report? The précis should be a single sentence, limited to 25 words or less, describing the major conclusion of the work.
The abstract should meet two requirements. A reader should be able to tell readily the value of the article and whether or not to read it completely. A literature searcher should have enough information to assess its value and to index.
Must be a structured abstract with four sections: Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusion.
May not exceed 250 words. May not contain brand names.
The optimal abstract has these features:
  • Impersonal, non-critical, and informative account.
  • Clear, grammatically accurate, exact, and stylistically uniform treatment of the subject.
  • Quantitative and avoids the use of general terms, especially in presenting the method and reporting the results.  
  • Objectives: Rationale or justification for the study provided. The statement should give a brief account of the purpose, need, and significance of the investigation (hypothesis or how the present work differs from previous work).
  • Methods: Brief account of the methods, emphasizing departures from the customary. Specific.
  • Results: Key results stated succinctly.
  • Conclusions: Conclusions or recommendations outlined. An emphasis of the significance of the work, conclusions, and recommendations. This may include new theories, interpretations, evaluations, or applications.
Writing Style and Quality
The writing style is important. Did the authors achieve 4 pillars: scientific, clear, concise, and correct?
  • Is the writing in active voice? Are ideas expressed briefly, clearly, and in simple, declarative sentences?
  • Do the authors communicate their ideas using direct, straightforward, and unambiguous words and phrases? Have they avoided jargon that would interfere with the communication of their procedures or ideas?
  • Are too many words or paragraphs or sections used to present what could be communicated more simply? Are there many compound and awkward sentences? Is there likely to be confusion?
  • Many writers have only a rudimentary grasp of grammar and punctuation, and that results in meandering commas, clauses in complex sentences that are struggling to find their verbs, and adjectives or even nouns that remain quite ambiguous about their antecedents in the sentence.  
Is there unnecessary repetition? Can you suggest deletion of sentences or phrases or words that add little to the paper?
There should be only standard abbreviations; with all spelled out in full preceding their first usage in the body of text.
Length and conciseness
Should the manuscript be shortened?
Is it well organized? Are the sections well-developed? Can you find answers to your questions quickly and easily? Can you trace the logic consistently from the opening paragraphs to the conclusion?
Conflict of interest
Check conflict of interest disclosures within manuscript, and author submitted forms.

  Things to avoid:
  • Be careful to not make comments that may be construed to be harsh or demeaning to the authors or their work. The reviewer should avoid language that can be easily misconstrued or that appears condescending, including obscure or loaded vocabulary as well as humor, irony, and sarcasm.
  • Do not challenge their integrity.
  • If a manuscript is poorly done in your opinion, it is sometimes best to comment very briefly rather than try to soften comments to the author.
  • Do not re-write portions of the manuscript.
  • In making your recommendation, reviewers are not asked whether they agree with the content of a manuscript, but to offer a professional opinion on the validity of the research and whether the conclusions follow from the results.
  • Phrases such as "fatal flaws" or "serious mistakes" might instead be offered as "substantial concerns" or "major issues."
  • Reviewers should be as polite and as diplomatic as they are demanding.
  • The Comments to the Authors should also not contain any semblance of a recommended rejection or acceptance of the manuscript. Such recommendations should be made only in the confidential report to the Editor.

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See: upper right navigation box: “How to Review”