Peer Review Process
The Arab Journal of Forensic Sciences & Forensic Medicine (AJFSFM) is an open access (CC BY-NC), peer-reviewed and free of charge journal, published by Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS). It is committed to apply a double-blind peer reviewing process, based on the COPE’s Code of Conduct and Best Practices and ICMJE's Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. You may find the journal’s Policies and Guidelines for Peer-reviewers, here.
After an initial screening, all submissions will be refereed by three reviewers over a maximum period of two weeks, according to specific research reporting guidelines for different study designs; including CONSORT for randomized trials, STROBE for observational studies, PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and STARD for studies of diagnostic accuracy. All authors should send their revised manuscripts within 2 weeks. Reviewers' and authors' identities are kept confidential. The existence of a submitted manuscript is not revealed to anyone other than the reviewers and editorial staff.
Manuscripts going forward to the review process are reviewed by members of an international expert panel. All such papers will undergo a double-blind peer review by two or more reviewers, under supervision of the journal section editor, as well as the editor in chief. We take every reasonable step to ensure author identity is concealed during the review process, but it is up to authors to ensure that their details of prior publications etc. do not reveal their identity. Authors who reveal their identity in the manuscript will be deemed to have declined anonymity and the review will be single blind (i.e. authors do not know reviewers' identities).
We aim to complete the review process within 4 weeks of the decision to review, although occasionally delays do happen and authors should allow at least 6 weeks from submission before contacting the journal. The Editor-in-Chief reserves the right to the final decision regarding acceptance.
Peer review/responsibility for the reviewers:
- Reviewers should keep all information regarding papers confidential and treat them as privileged information.
- Reviews should be conducted objectively, with no personal criticism of the author. No self-knowledge of the author(s) should affect comments and decisions made.
- Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
- Reviewers may identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors.
- Reviewers should also call the Editor in Chief's attention to any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
- Reviewers should not review manuscripts in which they 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.
Reviewers are the main members contributing for the benefit of the journal and being a peer reviewed (double-blind referee) journal they are insisted not to disclose their identity in any form.
A reviewer should immediately decline to review an article submitted if he/she feels that the article is technically unqualified, a timely review cannot be done by him/her, or if the article poses a conflict of interest.
All submissions should be treated as confidential. Editorial approval might be given for any outside person’s advice received.
No reviewer with due concern should pass on the article submitted to him/her for review to another reviewer, it should be declined immediately.
Reviewers, being the base of the whole quality process, should ensure that the articles published are of high quality and original work. They may inform the editor, if to their knowledge, they find an article submitted to them for review is under consideration in another publication.
There are no hard and fast rules for analyzing an article, this can be done on a case-to-case basis considering the worthiness, quality, and originality of the article submitted.
In general, the following may be checked in a review:
- Structure of the article submitted and its relevance to author guidelines
- Purpose and Objective of the article
- Method of using transitions in the article
- Introduction given and the conclusion/ suggestions provided
- References provided to substantiate content
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling · Plagiarism issues
- Suitability of the article to the current need
A reviewer’s comments decide the acceptance or rejection of an article and they are serve as a major part of the peer review process. All our reviewers are required to go through the articles submitted to them for review in detail and give review comments without bias, which will increase the quality of our journals.
Guidance for Peer Reviewers
All manuscripts are double-blind reviewed. At AJFSFM we believe that peer review is the foundation for safeguarding the quality and integrity of scientific and scholarly research.
As a reviewer, you will be advising the editors (Section Editor and Editor in Chief), who make the final decision (aided by an editorial committee for all research articles and most analysis articles). We will let you know our decision. Even if we do not accept an article, we would like to pass on constructive comments that might help the author to improve it.
All unpublished manuscripts are confidential documents. If we invite you to review an article, please do not discuss it, even with a colleague. When you receive an invitation to peer review, you should fill the journal’s review form. You should try to respond to every peer review invitation you receive. If you feel the paper is outside your area of expertise, or you are unable to devote the necessary time, please let the editorial office know as soon as possible, so that they can invite an alternative reviewer – it as at this stage you may like to nominate an appropriately qualified colleague. And please remember, if an author's manuscript is sitting with reviewers who have not responded to the peer-review request, the author will not get a timely decision.
Please read the Aims and Scope, as well as the Author Instruction with care. Consideration should be given to whether the paper is suitable for the journal it is submitted to. The journals' aims and scope are available on the “Journal Information” menu and pages.
The essential feature of any review is that it is helpful and constructive, and we urge reviewers to be robust but polite when making comments to authors. The Peer reviewers should provide an objective critical evaluation of the paper in the broadest terms practicable. Reviewers need to make a recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief when deciding on a manuscript. Your report must contain detailed answers on the journal questions in the review form. If you believe the paper has revisions to be made before it is acceptable, please make suggestions on how to improve the paper. Likewise, if you feel that a paper is not good enough and there is no real chance of being improved sufficiently for publication, you should recommend rejection.
You should also:
- Write clearly so that you can be understood by people whose first language is not English.
- Avoid complex or unusual words, especially ones that would even confuse native speakers.
- Number your points and refer to page and line numbers in the manuscript when making specific comments.
- If you have been asked to only comment on specific parts or aspects of the manuscript, you should indicate clearly which these are.
- Treat the author’s work the way you would like your own to be treated.
The Reviewer Score Sheet is only seen by the editors and comments will be shared with the authors. You should also indicate if the manuscript requires its English grammar, punctuation or spelling to be corrected (there is a prompt for this).
You may find the journal’s article review procedure, here.
Privacy and Confidentiality
(Prepared Based on ICMJE's Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals)
In AJFSFM, manuscripts must be reviewed with due respect for authors’ confidentiality. In submitting their manuscripts for review, authors entrust editors with the results of their scientific work and creative effort, on which their reputation and career may depend. Authors’ rights may be violated by disclosure of confidential details during the review of their manuscript. Reviewers also have rights to confidentiality, which must be respected by the editor. Confidentiality may have to be breached if dishonesty or fraud is alleged, but otherwise must be honored. Editors must not disclose information about manuscripts (including their receipt, content, status in the review process, criticism by reviewers, or ultimate fate) to anyone other than the authors and reviewers. This includes requests to use the materials for legal proceedings.
Editors must make clear to their reviewers that manuscripts sent for review are privileged communications and are the private property of the authors. Therefore, reviewers and members of the editorial staff must respect authors’ rights by not publicly discussing the authors’ work or appropriating their ideas before the manuscript is published. Reviewers must not be allowed to make copies of the manuscript for their files and must be prohibited from sharing it with others, except with the editor’s permission. Reviewers should return or destroy copies of manuscripts after submitting reviews. Editors should not keep copies of rejected manuscripts. Reviewer comments should not be published or otherwise publicized without permission of the reviewer, author, and editor.
AJFSFM is committed to follow and apply guidelines and flowcharts of Committee on Publication Ethics in its reviewing and publishing process and issues.
International Standards for Authors and Editors
Editorial Independence and Responsibilities
- The Editor in Chief has complete responsibility and authority to reject/accept an article and makes the final decision regarding publication or rejection of the submitted articles, without interference of its owner (Editors, Employees, or Members of the Editorial Board) or economic interests.
- Editors are responsible for the contents and overall quality of the publication.
- Editors should always consider the needs of the authors and the readers when attempting to improve the publication.
- Editors should guarantee the quality of the papers and the integrity of the academic record.
- Editors should publish errata pages or make corrections when needed.
AJFSFM is committed to follow and apply International Standards for Authors and Editors of Committee on Publication Ethics in designing and leading the Journal’s review and publishing process and dealing with issues.
Conflict of Interest in Reviewing Process
Although we are applying double bind peer review, the research sphere can be a small world. It means many reviewers may know the author out of familiarity with their work. You can certainly give a fair assessment of an article that is written by a friend or competitor, but:
- If there’s a significant conflict of interest, you should reveal this to the editor.
- If the conflict of interest causes a large positive or negative bias, then it is better to decline the review request.
- Avoid personal judgement and criticism at all times – judge the article. This is more likely to be well received by the author and lead to better work by them.
- Every editor will appreciate honesty about conflicts of interest, even if they then must look for a replacement reviewer.
Please email the Editorial Office at the journal formal email, if you have any concerns about conflict of interest or ethical issues with the paper.
The Publisher Principles: Codes of Conduct and Ethical Guidelines
AJFSFM is an open access (CC BY-NC 4.0), peer-reviewed and free of charge journal. It is committed to apply the following codes and principles of conduct of the publisher, Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS):
- NAUSS Publishing House Principles on Publication Ethics
- NAUSS Publishing House Guidelines and Flowcharts on Publication Ethics
- NAUSS Publishing House Standards for Authors
- NAUSS Publishing House Standards for Editors
- NAUSS Publishing House Policies and Guidelines of Peer Review
- NAUSS Publishing House Ethical Principles for Medical Research
- NAUSS Publishing House Ethical Principles for Psychological Research
- NAUSS Publishing House Policies on Conflict of Interest
How to become a reviewer?
AJFSFM is currently seeking new reviewers to join our team. For more information and apply send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org