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ETFLIN journals follow efficient, double-blind peer review guided by COPE Ethical Guidelines.

This guide and policy is intended to assist you in reviewing manuscripts submitted to ETFLIN journals. The steps that the reviewer must take are detailed so that the articles can be evaluated properly and efficiently. If you have further questions, contact our Editorial Office via halo@etflin.com.

Our principal in peer-review

We notice that the publication process takes a lengthy time owing to the peer-review step, which authors have expressed to various publishers. ETFLIN's editorial and management teams have worked hard to enhance quality and optimize the peer review time by implementing an online reviewing system. Ensuring the quality of peer review is of utmost importance to us. As such, we require that all reviewers submit their comments within 14 business days. However, we understand that certain circumstances may arise that require additional time. If this is the case, we ask that reviewers communicate with us promptly to discuss any potential delays. While we prioritize timeliness, we will always prioritize the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of the review process. So, we are willing to allow for a longer duration to ensure that the peer-review process remains robust and insightful.

All manuscripts submitted to ETFLIN journals go through double-blind peer review to ensure an equitable process. This is done to prevent communication between the reviewer(s) and the author(s). Reviewers are not permitted to contact the author in any manner, you should consider the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers before accepting and going through the peer-review process.

Selection of Reviewer

  1. Affiliation: To ensure a fair and unbiased peer-review process, it is crucial to select reviewers from affiliations that are different from both the authors and each other. This practice helps maintain objectivity by minimizing potential conflicts of interest. By selecting reviewers from diverse affiliations, we can ensure a broader range of perspectives and expertise in evaluating the manuscript. Reviewers who are not affiliated with the authors and with each other can provide independent and impartial assessments free from any undue influence or bias. This approach promotes transparency and enhances the credibility of the peer-review process, ultimately contributing to the quality and integrity of the published work.
  2. Expertise: The expertise of reviewers plays a crucial role in ensuring a rigorous and insightful evaluation of the manuscript. Reviewers should be selected based on their specialized knowledge and experience in the subject matter addressed in the manuscript. This expertise enables them to critically assess the scientific merits, methodology, and significance of the research presented. By having reviewers with relevant expertise, the evaluation process benefits from their deep understanding of the field, allowing for a comprehensive and informed review. Their expertise allows them to identify any potential gaps in the research, offer valuable suggestions for improvement, and provide a thoughtful analysis of the manuscript's contribution to the existing body of knowledge. Ultimately, the selection of reviewers with the necessary expertise contributes to maintaining the quality and integrity of the peer-review process, ensuring that the published work meets the highest standards of academic rigor.

In addition to possessing expertise in the subject matter, reviewers should meet certain criteria to ensure a high level of competence and credibility in their evaluations. The following criteria are recommended for reviewers:

  1. Advanced Degree: Reviewers should hold a Ph.D., Doctorate, or MD degree in a field relevant to the manuscript's subject matter. This educational background demonstrates their depth of knowledge and understanding in their respective fields.
  2. Publication Record: Reviewers should have a track record of publishing scholarly articles in reputable journals within their area of expertise. This criterion reflects their experience in conducting research, writing scientific papers, and understanding the publication process.
  3. Field Experience: Reviewers should have practical experience and active involvement in the specific field covered by the manuscript. This could include academic positions, industry experience, or relevant research work. Their firsthand experience enhances their ability to provide insightful and informed evaluations.
  4. Reputable Journals: Reviewers should have prior experience in publishing their work in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals. This criterion ensures that they are familiar with the rigorous standards and expectations of reputable publications, enabling them to evaluate the manuscript accordingly.

Peer Review Process

  • All authorship data will be removed from the manuscript.
  • The template is marked as a peer review file using a watermark.
  • All files and supplemental data are provided for peer review.

  • Referees are chosen through searches within our system or recommendations from Advisory Editors, Sectional Editors, Managing Editors, or the Editor-in-Chief.
  • Invitations for peer review requests are sent via email.
  • Confirmation of reviewers' availability for the review should be done no later than 5 days after the invitation is sent.
  • Referees who do not respond within 5 days will be replaced by another referee through a new invitation request.
  • Upon confirmation, referees will be sent a link to a form for submitting their comments and suggestions.
  • Typically, the review process is conducted within 14 business days or within an agreed-upon deadline with the referee.. 

  • Through the form sent to the referee's email address, they can provide comments, assign scores, and upload necessary files.
  • Alongside the data, referees will provide one of the four available recommendations (Accept, Major Revision, Minor Revision, and Rejection).
  • Certificates for referees will be automatically generated after form submission, and referees can download them in PDF format. 

  • The Editor-in-Chief or designated Sectional Editor will assess the manuscript and review referee comments.
  • This process may take 1-7 days before the editor can make a decision.
  • The editor's decision will be sent to the author via email and will also appear in the author's dashboard. 

  • If the editor requires revisions, the author will be given time to make improvements and address all comments and suggestions from both referees and the editor.
  • The duration for revisions typically ranges from 5 days to 1 month (with extension upon author's request).
  • After the revisions are submitted, the Editor-in-Chief or designated Sectional Editor will provide the final decision or initiate a second round of peer review.
  • Upon acceptance, the peer review process is concluded, and the manuscript will proceed to the copy editing stage.

Peer Review Form

Peer review is conducted via an online reviewing system, with a link to the reviewer's email and a peer-review request. The peer-review form includes six basic points: writing/language, research background, methodology, results and discussion, conclusion, and references. Other assessments might be added by reviewer(s) on "Other comments" input. A slider input is provided to score the manuscript on each basic point. The score means the following:

This form contains 6 comment boxes that are related to the manuscript quality and a general comment box. The following questions may help you correct the paper you are reviewing.

Language and style

Does the introduction provide sufficient background and include all relevant references?

Is the research design appropriate and adequately described?

Are the results clearly presented and discussed?

Are the conclusions supported by the results?

Are all the cited references relevant to the research?

Other comments

This section can contain any suggestions needed to improve the quality of the paper you are reviewing.

Reviewer Recognition

We are aware that the reviewers worked hard to help improve the paper's quality. As a result, below are some of the benefits of becoming an ETFLIN reviewer:

  1. Get a certificate of recognition as a reviewer
  2. Your name appears in the accepted article that you reviewed
  3. You will be given priority consideration for submission to ETFLIN Journals

Authoring Editorial Article

Articles authored by editors can be published through an objective and transparent process. These articles must undergo review by independent reviewers and, if possible, be managed by a guest editor.

The process undergone by these articles is the same as that for regular articles, with minimal involvement from the internal editorial team (except for managing and copy-editing). The articles still undergo a double-blind peer-review process, initially labeled not as 'Editorial' articles to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest and to maintain the same review standards as other articles.

These types of articles can only be authored by Editor-in-Chief, Advisory Editor, and Sectional Editor, where the content must present viewpoints or analyses related to the journal's scope and have scientific impact. Such articles should not be used solely for notifications or advertisements, including for personal or specific institutional interests.

Prohibited Activities

Personal reference suggestion

Reviewers are strongly advised against making recommendations to authors to include personal references that do not substantially enhance the article's overall content and quality. Authors maintain the prerogative to decline such suggestions, and it is incumbent upon the editor to effectively communicate this to the author. The peer-review process should prioritize the relevance and scholarly significance of references to ensure the integrity and credibility of the article.

Contacting author

It is imperative that reviewers refrain from attempting to contact authors intentionally or unintentionally. The peer-review process relies on a degree of impartiality and confidentiality to ensure fairness and objectivity. Unsolicited contact with authors can potentially compromise the anonymity and integrity of the review process. Reviewers should instead direct their feedback and queries through the appropriate editorial channels or peer review form, respecting the established procedures for maintaining a constructive and unbiased review process.

Manipulating review

Reviewers are strictly prohibited from manipulating their review outcomes for personal or institutional interests, including pursuing competitive objectives. Maintaining the integrity of the peer-review process is paramount to ensuring fairness and objectivity in scholarly publishing, and any attempt to compromise this fundamental principle is considered a breach of ethical conduct.

Disclosing in review materials

Reviewers are obligated to maintain the confidentiality of the manuscripts they review and refrain from using or disclosing their content prior to the manuscript's publication or obtaining written permission from the author. This commitment to confidentiality safeguards the integrity of the peer-review process, ensuring that unpublished research remains secure until it is ready for dissemination or until explicit consent is granted by the author.

Discriminative and unethical comments

Reviewers are expected to provide professional and constructive feedback, refraining from using language or perspectives that may be discriminatory or unethical towards the authors. Maintaining a respectful and unbiased tone in their comments is essential to upholding the ethical standards of peer review and fostering a supportive and inclusive scholarly environment. See our policy related to harassment.

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