Understanding the EJFB peer review process

Peer review is the independent assessment of research papers by other experts in the same field. It is designed to check the validity of manuscripts and evaluate their suitability for publication. In addition to offering authors advice and guidance, peer review ensures that the manuscripts published are of the correct quality for the journal’s aims.

All published research articles in EJFB have undergone a rigorous and transparent double anonymous peer review process, based on initial editor screening, anonymous refereeing by two independent expert reviewers, and consequent revision by article author(s) when required. In this process the identity of both the reviewers and author(s) are always concealed from both parties.

The content of each peer review is confidential, for use only by EJFB editor and authors. The article review process is done with the Open Journal System (OJS) software that guarantees automated and auditable electronic registration of all interactions.

A summary of the process is summarized below:

1. Submission of paper. The corresponding author sumits the paper to the journal. EJFB uses an OJS system for submission of manuscripts. In some cases, submissions may accept through email.

2. Editorial assessment. The journal screens the manuscript initially to make sure it includes the required sections and stylizations. At the same time, the document is passed through plagiarism check usin Ithenticate Plagiarism Checking Software. The qualty of the paper is not assesed at this point.

Then, the Direction of EJFB (editor-in-chief and associate directors/deputy directors) check that the paper is appropriate for the journal. Only those papers that meet the scientific and editorial standards, and fit within the aims and scope of EJFB, will be sent for full blind peer review. Manuscripts that do not comply with the formal requirements established in the authors guidelines will be returned to their authors, and those that do not follow the editorial line or are not sufficiently original and interesting migh be rejected for publication in EJFB.

If the paper does pass the initial assessment it will move to the newt stage, and into peer review.

3. Assigning an associate editor. EJFB has associate editors who handle the peer review. The handling editor will have no conflict of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors or institutions connected to the paper.

4. Invitation to reviewers. The handling editor contact other researchers who are experts in the field,  asking them to review the paper. A minimum of two reviewers is required for every research papers.

Potential reviewers consider the invitation against their own expertise, conflicts of interest and availability.

5. First round peer review. This will be undertaken with the experience of the handling editor and the two independent reviewers selected for their recognized expertise. The reviewers will be asked to read and comment on the manuscript. They also will be invited to advise the editor whether the paper is suitable for publication in EJFB.

The review criteria are as follows: originality, novelty, relevance, interest, quality and methodological rigor and practical contributions.

6. Journal evaluation of reviews. Once the handling editor has received and considered the reviewer reports, as well as making their own assessment of the paper, it may be rejected, accepted with modifications or accepted without modification.  If the reviews differ widely, the editor may invite an additional reviewer so as to get an extra opinion before making a decision. 

The decision will be be shared with the Direction of EJFB and will be communicated to the correspondieng author via online system or in rare cases via email. The reviewer reports are anonymous and will be shared along with any additional guidance.

Decision regarding publication may be:

- Accepted with no changes (Accept Submission).

- Rejected  (Decline Submission)

- Requested for revision and re-submission (Revision Required).

The average review time of the first round will be between 10 and 14 weeks.

The Direction of EJFB is in charge of solving conflicts, complaints or nonconformities expressed by the authors’ vis-à-vis the results of the evaluation process.

7. Revise and resubmit. It is very common for editor and reviewers to have suggestions about how the paper con be improved before it is ready to be published. These reports might have only a few straightforward recommendations (minor amendments) or require more substantial changes before the paper will be accepted for publication (major amendments).

In case of requesting minor changes, this follow-up review will be done by the handling editor. The manuscript will be accepted as soon as it includes the requested modifications, without the need for further revisions from the reviewers.  In case of major amendments, the revised manuscript will be re-submitted to be evaluated by the reviewers with the aim of giving greater coherence and fluidity to the process. This new revision lasts, on average, 6 weeks.

After this, the reviewers and editor may requiere more changes and authors may then be asked to make further revisions, or the paper might be rejected if the editor hinks that the changes were not adequate.

The average acceptance rate is in the range of 35-37%.

8. Final acceptance. The handling editor will evalute the revised version and make the final decision in consultation with the Direction of EJFB. If the paper is accepted, it is ready to move to production.

Authors requiring a certificate of article acceptance will receive a provisional document signed by editors-in-chief via email, valid until their articles are definitely published.

9. Production. Every articles accepted for publishing will be checked by copyeditors, who will make the appropriate comments on them. PDF proof in editable form will be sent by e-mail to the corresponding author. The correction of proofs will be carried out by the authors themselves within the time set by the Direction of EJFB. In case authors do not reply before the deadline, the Direction of EJFB will assume such task but always taking the originals as their reference.

10. Publication. Accepted papers will be published in the first available issue. Authors will know this information. 

Review criteria

The reviewers are required to write a review report on the Manuscript that evaluates the work with respect to the following criteria:

  • Importance
    • The manuscript addresses an important question.
    • The work described is innovative in nature, approach, or scope.
    • The manuscript has potential to advance the discipline.
  •  
  • Justification/Rationale
    • The work is well-motivated and is appropriately grounded in theory and prior literature.
    • The paper falls within the mission, aims, and scope of this journal.
  •  
  • Clarity and Format
    • Is the paper clearly written and in 6th APA style. Is there appropriate inclusion of references, and does the paper use an adecuate language that is free of bias?
    • Does the paper have adequate organizational coherence (e.g., is the heading structure clear and helpful to the reader?
    • Does the flow of the sections work well to convey the key points?
  •  
  • Methods/Approach
    • The overall strategy, methodology, research design, and techniques are clear, well-reasoned, appropriate, and current.
    • Information needed for reproducibility is provided.
    • The methodology was implemented with rigor.
    • Appropriate data analyses were selected given the purpose of the study and research questions.
  •  
  • Results/Finding
    • Data analyses were conducted appropriately and reported with clarity.
    • Other results and findings are clear, well-reasoned, and succinct.
    • Tables and figures in the body of the manuscript are clear and effective.
    • Appropriate use of supplemental material is incorporated.
  •  
  • Discussion/Conclusions
    • The results/findings are synthesized and interpreted within the context of previous literature, existing models, or theories.
    • Implications of the study have been considered and practical implications have been addressed.
    • Important study limitations are acknowledged.

Reviewer guidelines

If you accept an invitation to review, you must treat the materials you receive as confidential documents. This means you cannot share them with anyone without prior authorization from the corresponding editor. Since peer review is confidential, you also must not share information about the review with anyone without permission from the editors and authors. Do not forget that, even after finalizing your review, you must treat the paper and any linked files or data as confidential documents.

Your report will be used as a basis for the editorial decision. It also aids authors and allows them to improve their manuscript. So be polite, honest and clear. You should also try to be objective and constructive. You should explain and support your judgement so that both editors and authors are able to understand the reasoning behind your comments. You should indicate whether your comments are your own opinion or are reflected by the data and evidence. You should also:

  • Write clearly and so you can be understood by people whose first language is not English.
  • Number your points and refer to page and line numbers in the manuscript when making specific comments.
  • Treat the author's work the way you would like your own to be treated.

The review criteria to be taken into account for assessing the manuscripts are: originality, novelty, interest, quality and methodological rigor, and relevance, both practical and academically and for the public at large.

Try to bear in mind the following questions:

  • What is the main question addressed by the research? Is it relevant and interesting?
  • How original is the topic? What does it add to the subject area compared with other published material?
  • Is the paper well written? Is the text clear and easy to read?
  • Are the conclusions consistent with the evidence and arguments presented? Do they address the main question posed?
  • If the author is disagreeing significantly with the current academic consensus, do they have a substantial case? If not, what would be required to make their case credible?
  • If the paper includes tables or figures, what do they add to the paper? Do they aid understanding or are they superfluous?

In your report, you will be asked to indicate your recommendation:

Recommending Acceptance. Please give details outlining why, and if there are any areas that could be improved.

Recommending Revision. If recommending revision, state specific changes you feel need to be made. The author should then reply to each point in turn.

Recommending Rejection. If recommending rejection, state this clearly in your review and why.

In your recommendations for the author, you should give constructive feedback describing ways that they could improve the research. Remember to give constructive criticism even if recommending rejection. This helps developing researchers improve their work and explains to the editor why you felt the manuscript should not be published.

Bear in mind that there will be the opportunity to direct separate comments to both the editor and authors. Once you are ready to submit your report, follow the instructions or send an email to the Direction of EJFB  if you encounter any difficulties. Remember that we will be very pleased to support you.

The final decision

The handling editor will make the final decision in consultation with the Direction of EJFB