Peer Review for Addiction Journals
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Peer Review for Addiction Journals. Robert L. Balster Editor-in-Chief Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Steps in the Review Process. Editor initial assessment. Editor selects reviewers. Editor monitors review process. Reviewers review paper. Reviewer decision: revise, reject or accept.

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Peer Review for Addiction Journals

Robert L. Balster

Editor-in-Chief

Drug and Alcohol Dependence


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Steps in the Review Process

Editor initial assessment

Editor selects reviewers

Editor monitors review process

Reviewers review paper

Reviewer decision: revise,

reject or accept

Editor decision, notify reviewers

Author revision

Editor decides if further review

is needed


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Why Have Peer Review?

  • Advise the editorial decision making process

  • Justify rejections

  • Improve the quality of acceptable manuscripts

  • Identify instances of ethical or scientific misconduct


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Possible Reviewer Recommendations

  • Accept as is (usually only used for revisions)

  • Minor revision (usually does not need to be reviewed again)

  • Major revision (revised paper may still not be acceptable and may need to be reviewed again)

  • Reject


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Editorial Decision Making

  • Reviewers make recommendations, but editors must make final decisions

  • Editors may disagree with recommendations of the reviewers.

  • Seeming to ignore the advice of a particular reviewer does not mean that the review was not excellent.


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Reviewers Improve the Quality of Accepted Papers

  • Constructive comments to authors from reviewers can be very important in improving the quality of scientific publications.

    • Quality of the science (e.g. data analysis)

    • Clarity of the presentation

    • Use of appropriate, unbiased citation practices

  • Reviewer suggestions can also alter the course of future research or data analyses.


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A Good Principle for Guiding Your Efforts as a Reviewer: The Reviewer’s Golden Rule

Review papers in the way you would want you paper to be reviewed!


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How to be a good reviewer? Reviewer’s Golden Rule

  • Respond quickly to requests to perform a review

  • Notify editors of any conflicts of interest you have, ask advice if you are uncertain

  • Maintain confidentiality during the review process

  • Complete the review on time

  • Prepare separate comments for the editor and comments for the author(s)


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Writing a Good Review: Reviewer’s Golden RuleComments to the Editor

  • These are confidential communications between you and the editor, not shared with authors or other reviewers.

  • Identify COIs not previously reported

  • Tell editor about areas of your expertise, especially if there are some aspects of paper you are not well qualified to review


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Writing a Good Review: Reviewer’s Golden RuleComments to the Editor (cont.)

  • Identify ethical or scientific misconduct issues

  • Comment on problems with English usage

  • You can give the editor a bottom line or highlight some aspects of your comments for authors


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Comment for the Editor: Reviewer’s Golden RuleThings Not To do

  • Don’t make jokes or disparaging remarks about the paper or the authors.

  • Don’t tell the editor one thing and tell the authors something different.


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Reviewer Checklist Reviewer’s Golden Rule

QUESTIONNAIRE (please place an 'x' beside the appropriate option):

1. Do you have any conflicts of interest that you need to report? Yes___ No___

If yes, please describe below:

2. Is the study acceptable on ethical grounds? Yes___ No___

If no, please comment below:

  • Is the English language usage acceptable? Yes___ No___

    4. Did you enter the manuscript rating (1=worst; 100=best) Yes___ No___


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Writing a Good Review: Reviewer’s Golden RuleComments for Authors

  • State the paper’s main strengths and weaknesses, consider the bigger picture

    • Try to balance technical merit with scientific significance. Is it a novel contribution?

  • Provide specific suggestions for improvements

    • This is important whether or not you are recommending acceptance, revision or rejection.

    • Number your comments and suggestions


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Comments for Authors: Reviewer’s Golden RuleSuggestions for Improvements

  • Be as constructive as you can

  • Be both general and specific

  • Help identify ways to reduce figures and tables or to shorten the paper

  • Identify failures of compliance with the formatting requirements for the journal


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Comments for Authors: Reviewer’s Golden RuleDo NOT Include

  • Do not make personal or disparaging remarks about the authors, the scientific work or the specific manuscript.

  • Do not tell include your specific recommendation to the editor.

  • Limit the tendency to redesign the study. These are not constructive comments.

  • Try not to identify yourself in your comments

    • “The authors failed to mention the important woks of Smith and colleagues” when you are Smith

    • “We did a similar study a few years ago and found….”


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Language Problems With Manuscripts Reviewer’s Golden Rule

  • Many authors of journal articles do not use English as their first language

  • It is important to evaluate the quality of the work assuming that language problems could be fixed in a revision.

  • You should comment on language problems to the editor but do not focus on these issues in comments for authors.


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Reviewing Revisions Reviewer’s Golden Rule

  • Determine how well the authors responded to your concerns and those of the editor and other reviewer(s).

  • Check to make sure the authors actually made changes in the manuscript, and not just provided missing information in the cover letter.

  • Sometimes clarification of methods or analyses will lessen your enthusiasm for a paper. If so, respond accordingly.


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How do Editors Choose Reviewers? Reviewer’s Golden Rule

  • They typically draw from a Reviewer Database which they keep, adding new reviewers as needed or when they volunteer.

  • They try to match the content area of the submission with the expertise of the reviewer

    • Use of key words

  • They usually try to limit the number of reviews persons are asked to do.

  • They try to select reviewers who have done a good job in the past.


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Reviewer Selection Summary Reviewer’s Golden Rule


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Selecting Personal Classifications Reviewer’s Golden Rule


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X Reviewer’s Golden Rule

Reviewer Name

5 Class Match with MS

160.000 Clinical Pharmacology

610.000 Methadone Maintenance

750.000 Opiates

810.000 Pharmacotherapy

1110.000 Training/Teaching


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Summary Reviewer’s Golden Rule

  • Be honest and straightforward with editors in all aspects of the review process

  • Imagine yourself as an author when you undertake to review scientific manuscripts (The Golden Rule)

  • Peer review is a key element to the scientific process so do your part to make it work well.


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