Reviewers Guideline

Basic Principles

The purpose of peer review is to improve the quality of the manuscript under review, and of the material that is eventually published. Conscientious peer review is a time-consuming task but is essential to assure the quality of scientific journals. The Journal of Science and Sustainable Development (JSSD) of Ambo University is very grateful for the time and effort you invest in the review process.

Journal of Science and Sustainable Development (JSSD) adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines (http://publicationethics.org). We strive to ensure that peer review is fair, unbiased and timely. Decisions to accept or reject a manuscript for publication are based on the manuscript’s importance, originality and clarity, and the study’s validity and its relevance to the remit of the journal.

We use a wide range of sources to identify potential reviewers, including the editorial board, personal knowledge, author suggestions, and bibliographic databases. Reviewers’ evaluations play a major role in our decision as to whether to accept a manuscript for publication. JSSD operates a double-blind review process in which the identities of the authors are hidden from the reviewers, and identities of the reviewers are hidden from the authors. Reviewers can choose to sign their reviews if they wish.

General Notes

  • Reviews should be conducted fairly and objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. If the research reported in the manuscript is flawed, criticize the science, not the scientist. Personal criticism is likely to lead an author to ignore useful comments, making your review less useful to your field. Criticisms should be objective, not merely differences of opinion, and intended to help the author improve his or her paper.
  • You should decline to review manuscripts in which you have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
  • If your previous or present connection with the author(s) or an author's institution might be construed as creating a conflict of interest, but no actual conflict exists, please include this issue in your confidential comments to the editor. If in doubt, please contact the Editor who requested the review before accepting.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the manuscript, which is sent to you in confidence. You should not discuss unpublished manuscripts with colleagues or use the information in your own work. If you feel a colleague is more qualified than you to review the paper, do not pass the manuscript on to that person without first requesting permission to do so from the editor. Your review and your recommendation should also be considered confidential.

The Responsibility of the Peer Reviewer

The peer reviewer is responsible for critically reading and evaluating a manuscript in their specialty field, and then providing respectful, constructive, and honest feedback to authors about their submission. It is appropriate for the Peer Reviewer to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the article, ways to improve the strength and quality of the work, and evaluate the relevance and originality of the manuscript.

Before Reviewing

Please consider the following:

  • Does the article you are being asked to review match your expertise? If you receive a manuscript that covers a topic that does not sufficiently match your area of expertise, please notify the editor as soon as possible. Please feel free to recommend alternate reviewer.
  • Do you have time to review the paper? Finished reviews of an article should be completed within two weeks. If you do not think you can complete the review within this time frame, please let the editor know and if possible, suggest an alternate reviewer. If you have agreed to review a paper but will no longer be able to finish the work before the deadline, please contact the editor as soon as possible.
  • Are there any potential conflicts of interests? While conflicts of interest will not disqualify you from reviewing the manuscript, it is important to disclose all conflicts of interest to the editors before reviewing. If you have any questions about potential conflicts of interests, please do not hesitate to contact the receiving editorial office.

The Review

When reviewing the article, please keep the following in mind:

  • Content Quality and Originality: Is the article sufficiently novel and interesting to warrant publication? Does it add to the canon of knowledge? Does the article adhere to the journal's standards? Is the research question an important one? In order to determine its originality and appropriateness for the journal, it might be helpful to think of the research in terms of what percentile it is in? Is it in the top 25% of papers in this field? You might wish to do a quick literature search using tools such as Scopus to see if there are any reviews of the area. If the research has been covered previously, pass on references of those works to the editor.
  • Organization and Clarity
    • Title: Does it clearly describe the article?
    • Abstract: Does it reflect the content of the article?
    • Introduction: Does it describe what the author hoped to achieve accurately, and clearly state the problem being investigated? Normally, the introduction should summarize relevant research to provide context, and explain what other authors' findings, if any, are being challenged or extended. It should describe the experiment, the hypothesis(es) and the general experimental design or method.
    • Method: Does the author accurately explain how the data was collected? Is the design suitable for answering the question posed? 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? Does the article make it clear what type of data was recorded; has the author been precise in describing measurements?
    • Results: This is where the author/s should explain in words what he/she discovered in the research. It should be clearly laid out and in a logical sequence. You will need to consider if the appropriate analysis has been conducted. Are the statistics correct? If you are not comfortable with statistics, please advise the editor when you submit your report. Interpretation of results should not be included in this section.
    • Conclusion/Discussion: Are the claims in this section supported by the results, do they seem reasonable? Have the authors indicated how the results relate to expectations and to earlier research? Does the article support or contradict previous theories? Does the conclusion explain how the research has moved the body of scientific knowledge forward?
    • Tables, Figures, Images: Are they appropriate? Do they properly show the data? Are they easy to interpret and understand?
    • References: Are the references cited the most appropriate to support the manuscript? Are citations provided for all assertions of fact not supported by the data in this paper? Are any key citations missing?
    • Length of the manuscript: Consider the length of the manuscript, relative to the content. Should any portions of the paper should be expanded, condensed, combined, or deleted? (Please be specific in your advice, and don't simply advise overall shortening).
    • Scope - Is the article in line with the aims and scope of the journal?

Final Comments

  • All submissions are confidential and please do not discuss any aspect of the submissions with a third party.
  • If you would like to discuss the article with a colleague, please ask the editor first.
  • Please do not contact the author directly.

Ethical Issues:

- Plagiarism: If you suspect that an article is a substantial copy of another work, please let the editor know, citing the previous work in as much detail as possible

- Fraud: It is very difficult to detect the determined fraudster, but if you suspect the results in an article to be untrue, discuss it with the editor

- Other ethical concerns: For medical research, has confidentiality been maintained? Has there been a violation of the accepted norms in the ethical treatment of animal or human subjects? If so, then these should also be identified to the editor

Final Steps

Please complete the “Reviewer’s Comments” form by the due date to the receiving editorial office. Your recommendation regarding an article will be strongly considered when the editors make the final decision, and your thorough, honest feedback will be much appreciated.

When writing comments, please indicate the section of comments intended for only the editors and the section of comments that can be returned to the author(s). Please never hesitate to contact the receiving editorial office with any questions or concerns you may have.