A journal deserves to be recognized and indexed when it publishes original and unpublished scientific articles, derived from research projects evaluated by qualified external peers. The review process is the one that transforms manuscripts into science. The quality of the contents published by The Guillermo de Ockham Journal is supported by the evaluation process carried out by the editorial team and external peers. In this section, authors, researchers, peer reviewers, and the community in general, may have information on the review process followed by each of the manuscripts submitted to the journal. Peer reviewers are requested to read this section. It provides clarity about the type of review, what is understood by peer review, the functions entrusted to it, conflicts of interest, responsibilities, ethics, the review process and its timing.
Type of revision
The type of review adopted by the journal is double-blind or double anonymity. Neither authors nor peers know their identities. The preference for this type of review is to avoid conflict of interest or bias in the process (geographical origin, gender, academic background, reputation in the field, publication history, etc.). The purpose of this type of evaluation is to obtain a neutral and objective concept of the peer reviewer, focused on the information in the manuscript, the method, the data, the results and the arguments developed by the authors.
For The Guillermo de Ockham Journal, a peer reviewer is a qualified expert in the subject area of the manuscript, with experience in research, external to the institution that finances the journal, with postgraduate training (master's or doctorate), who has no conflict of interest and can give an objective opinion of the manuscript.
The main function of the peer reviewer is to objectively and impartially review the content of the manuscript and ensure compliance with the quality standards required by the scientific community. The quality standards are related to:
- Thematic relevance
- Whether the manuscript has a solid background, an appropriate theoretical framework, and a clear justification.
- Whether the method is rigorous, detailed, valid, current, and meets the objective of the study.
- Whether the analyses applied to the data were pertinent, robust, and appropriate to the variables.
- Whether the interpretation of the results is clear, objective, and coherent with the adopted theory.
- Whether the language used is precise, technical and clearly communicates the results.
In summary, the peer reviewer is responsible for reviewing the quality and relevance of the article and that the findings are supported by a good scientific method, background and theoretical framework. In addition, the peer reviewer informs the editor if they suspect any unethical conduct that may jeopardize the validity of the results.
Conflict of interests
A conflict of interest arises when a peer reviewer is unable to review a manuscript objectively and impartially. The following situations are examples of such cases:
- When the peer reviewer has a relationship with the author, i.e., personal, family, professional or commercial relationship.
- When the peer reviewer has or has had an employment relationship with any of the authors.
- When the peer reviewer is working in the same institution with any of the authors.
- When the peer reviewer has published together with the author.
- When the peer reviewer has been a mentor, tutor, advisor or close collaborator with any of the authors..
- When the peer reviewer plans to do research with the author on a similar topic.
- When the peer reviewer is developing a similar research or is in the process of publication or has recently published it.
If the peer reviewer presents any conflict of personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious nature, they should inform the editor and decline the invitation.
Responsibilities and review ethics
Peer reviewers have a high commitment to the journal, to its scientific community, to the general public who benefit from the findings and to any other actor who is linked to the results of the research. Therefore, the journal expects from them:
- Response to an invitation in a timely manner, even if they cannot undertake the review. The editor welcomes the recommendation of another suitable peer reviewer who can evaluate the manuscript.
- Rejection of invitations to review if they have a conflict of interest, if the article does not fit their thematic profile, if they do not have the time to do a detailed review, or if there may be other impediments.
- Rejection of the invitation if they do not intend to evaluate the manuscript. It is considered misconduct when you agree to evaluate the document in order to know its content and then decline or abandon the review.
- Registration in the platform of the journal (OJS) and sending to the editor, when requested, personal, professional, and experience information in a complete, accurate and faithful manner, including verifiable contact information.
- Respect for the double-blind pair condition. Thus, the peer should not seek personal information about the authors or try to contact them. If, for any reason, they know the identity of the authors, they are advised to inform the editor and ask if this would be an impediment to issuing the concept.
- Review of the manuscript in a personal manner and no involvement of third parties in the process without authorization from the editor.
- In-depth, serious and honest analysis of the results of the research.
- Abstention from issuing concepts that imply demands that go beyond the objective of the research. The demands must be framed within the scope of the study.
- Avoidance of requiring authors to include citations of any of their own work or that of colleagues in order to increase the number of citations and the visibility of their publications. Recommend only essential references that could strengthen or support the authors' findings or arguments.
- Objectivity, clarity, technicality, reasoned argumentation, and justification of their rebuttals. This helps the authors to identify their weaknesses, clarify adjustments or have the opportunity to improve their manuscript, even if it is rejected.
- Notification to the editor if the article requires an expert review in the methodological or data analysis part to confirm the results or validate them. For these cases, the editor welcomes the recommendations from the peer reviewers.
- Confidentiality of the data and the evaluation must be maintained. The manuscript or its data should not be used for purposes other than the review or shared with third parties for the purpose of taking advantage of or seeking to discredit the work. The evaluation should be sent only to the editor or authorized staff of the journal and under no circumstances should it be used for other purposes or shared with third parties. The peer reviewer must remain anonymous; that is, they should not disclose by any means that they evaluated a particular article. However, they may state that they supported the review with the arbitration processes and indicate the issue or issues in which they have participated as peer reviewer.
- Respect and professionalism with comments by: not being hostile, slanderous, derogatory or making unfounded accusations, using assertive communication, not taking things personally or using language that blurs cordiality. They should be constructive, thus reflecting respect for the authors and the research.
- Report to the editor if they suspect behavior that casts doubt on the research or if they find information that validates such suspicions: duplicate publication, plagiarism, self-plagiarism, repeated publication, manipulation, falsification or fabrication of data, bias in the research, simultaneous submissions to other journals, or any other fraudulent behavior that violates ethics and due process. They should refrain from self-research and cooperate confidentially with the journal.
- Timely submission of the review of the manuscript so as not to affect the process. In no case should the review processes be intentionally prolonged. If for reasons beyond the control of the peer reviewer, the review time does not meet the deadline, it is their obligation to contact the editor as soon as possible and request additional time.
- The editor to be contacted should something arise after submitting the concept that could affect the evaluation (e.g., a realization of possible fraud in the manuscript) and the case to be handled in a confidential manner.
Peer review process and timeline
Peer review submission
The authors should present in the letter to the editor the ideal profile of the peer reviewer who should review the manuscript (academic background and thematic specialty). Eventually, the authors may propose the names of some peers who would be in the competence to review the manuscript. To this end, they should declare that they have no conflicts of interest, that they have not been made aware of them and that there will be no communication of any kind that could affect the process. If any conduct on the part of the authors that could jeopardize the evaluation of the manuscript is identified, the process will be rejected.
Once the profile of the peer reviewer (presented by the authors) and the subject matter of the manuscript have been reviewed, the editor identifies at least two peers who would be able to review the manuscript. The editor will choose between international or national peers, rely on their editorial or scientific committee to have some recommendations, and in eventual cases, will choose a peer proposed by the authors (after reviewing their profile). This process, together with the preparation of the manuscript, may take an average of one week, according to the workflow of the journal.
Peer review invitation
Once the peer reviewers have been identified, they are sent an invitation through Open Journal Systems (OJS), the editorial management platform of the journal. In the invitation, the title and abstract of the article, the review policy of the journal, and the time proposed for the delivery of the concept (four weeks) are presented. A maximum of eight days is given to receive a response. If no response or a negative one is received within this time, other peers are invited. When the response is positive, OJS automatically enables the manuscript, the evaluation format, and the evaluation instructions.
Once the peer reviewer accepts the invitation, they have four weeks to issue their concept. The evaluation must be done through OJS. The journal has a simple and intuitive system for review. The manuscript can be accessed in word or pdf, downloaded, annotated, and then registered in the evaluation format presented by the system. There will be the option to attach files before submitting the manuscript to the editor. If due to situations beyond the peer's control, the concept takes more time than planned, they must notify the editor, explain the situation and request additional time so that the system does not disable it (the evaluations are configured temporarily and when these times are closed, the system does not allow access). The editor thanks the peers who can make the reviews on the proposed dates or communicate in time when a concept may take longer than projected.
In the evaluation, apart from rating each section of the article, the peer reviewer has the possibility to address the authors and give their recommendations. In this format, the peer can also give recommendations to the editor (these will not be visible or shared with the authors). At the end of the form, the peer will recommend one of the following options to the editor:
- Publish without modification.
- Publish with modifications.
The final publication decision will be made by the editor and the editorial committee, who will take into account the concepts of the peers and the editorial evaluation.
In some cases, articles may be approved conditionally, i.e., once the authors have made changes. Some changes can be reviewed by the editor and advance to the editing process, but in other cases, it is necessary that peers accompany this stage, especially when the adjustments are of such specialty that only the peer reviewer can validate them. For this reason, the Revista Guillermo de Ockham thanks the peers to keep this aspect of the process in mind, in order to count on them in the review and approval of adjustments.
Third peer reviewer
The journal sends manuscripts to two peer reviewers. On some occasions, the concepts issued by the reviewers may be contradictory. In this sense, the editor will rely on the editorial committee to settle the controversies and make the decision to approve or reject the manuscript. If there are duly justified dissimilar arguments, the manuscript will be sent to a third peer reviewer. Based on the opinion of the third peer reviewer, the editor and the editorial committee will decide whether to accept or reject the manuscript.
Peer review certification
At the end of the process, the editor will send the peer reviewer a duly signed certificate stating that they contributed as an expert validating the scientific content for the Revista Guillermo de Ockham.