Peer Review Policy
The Review Process
The journal follows a double-blind peer review procedure.
Guidelines: These are available in detail for the authors as well as reviewers.
An automated submission confirmation email is generated and sent to the author(s). After the initial assessment the selected manuscript is subjected to peer review by two external peer reviewers belonging to the subject specialty as identified by the editorial team. The editorial team then makes a decision based on the reviewers' suggestions, from among the following possibilities:
- Accept without editorial revisions.
- Accept with editorial revisions--inviting the authors to revise their manuscripts and address specific concerns before a final decision is reached.
- Reject, but indicate to the authors that further work might justify a resubmission.
- Reject outright, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems.
Reviewers are welcome to recommend a particular course of action; however, the editors may have to make a decision based on the conflicting advice from time to time. Editorial decisions are not a matter of counting votes or numerical rank assessments, and the majority recommendation is not always followed. The strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors is evaluated by the editors, and it is ensured that the information is not disclosed to any party. The editors take reviewers' criticisms seriously; in particular, the technical criticisms are rarely disregarded. In cases where one reviewer alone opposes publication, other reviewers may be consulted as to whether he/she is applying an unduly critical standard. Occasionally additional reviewers are also brought in to resolve disputes, but this is usually avoided unless there is a specific issue, for example a specialist technical point, on which we feel a need for further advice.
How the referee is selected Reviewers are matched to the paper according to their expertise and our database is constantly being updated.
Referee Reports Reviewers are asked to evaluate whether the manuscript is original – Is methodologically sound - follows appropriate ethical guidelines - has results which are clearly presented and support the conclusions – has correct references of the previous relevant work. Language correction is not part of the peer review process, but reviewers may, if they so wish to, suggest corrections to the manuscript. Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors or institutions connected to the papers.
How long does the review process take? The time required for the first round of the review process is dependent on the response of the reviewers. Reviewers should meet the agreed upon deadline (usually 4 - 6 week) for manuscript review and should respond to the reminder if sent any. The manuscript with the editor’s decision is sent to the author with recommendations made by the reviewers, which usually includes verbatim comments by the reviewers. The revised article is then subjected to subsequent rounds of review till it reaches a final correct form finalizing the decision.
Rewarding reviewers: Thank you email along with the online reviewer certificate is sent on completion of the review through online review system.
- Name of reviewers are published online as well as print copy of the journal by the end of the year.
Upon the initial submission of the manuscript, the author is acknowledged and allocated a reference number for future correspondence. This process takes place within 2 days. The manuscript is categorized according to the type of article into “Original”, “Review”, “Short Communication”, “Case Report” and so forth. Each type of article has a special format and should comply with the updated PAFMJ ‘Instructions to Authors’, available on the website. Normally an article is reviewed by at least two subject experts, statistician, and the other members of the editorial committee.
If the reviewer has not sent the review within stipulated period of 2 to 6 weeks, a first and second reminder letters are sent 2-3 weeks apart. If after the 2nd reminder the reviewer fails to reply, the article is referred to a new reviewer. The usual delay is in the reviewing process owing to the reviewer's professional and academic commitments. The reviewer's comments are communicated to the author. The revised version of the article is sent back to the reviewers. Due to variable response from authors and reviewers the length of time required for processing of article is also variable. However, it generally takes 4 to 6 months for the acceptance of an article on fast track. The article may be declined at peer review stage in accordance with the reviewers’ comments.
The author will be given 2 weeks to incorporate the reviewers’ comments in the revised manuscript. The article will be declined if no response is received from the corresponding author concerned. The accepted manuscript is then handed to statistician for data analysis and verification of references respectively. Finally, after ensuring all corrections are duly made, the acceptance letter is issued.
Editor’s Decision is final Reviewers advice the editor, who is responsible for the final decision to accept or reject the article.
The peer review process at the Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal (PAFMJ) is explicit and sufficiently detailed to ensure transparency, fairness, and objectivity in the evaluation of submitted manuscripts.
The peer review process is outlined in detail on the journal's website, providing authors, reviewers, and readers with a clear understanding of the steps involved.
Reviewer guidelines are provided to ensure that reviewers have a comprehensive understanding of their roles and responsibilities during the review process.
Peer Review Criteria:
Clear criteria for evaluating manuscripts are communicated to reviewers, encompassing scientific validity, methodology, ethical standards, and adherence to the journal's guidelines.
Review of Articles Authored by Editors and Editorial Board Members
PAFMJ has a specific policy addressing the review of articles authored by editors and editorial board members to ensure impartiality and avoid conflicts of interest.
Articles authored by editors or editorial board members undergo the same rigorous peer review process as other submissions, ensuring that the review is conducted by independent and unbiased experts.
Transparency in Decision-Making:
The journal is committed to transparent decision-making regarding articles authored by editors or editorial board members. Any potential conflicts of interest are disclosed, and alternative editorial arrangements are made to ensure impartial review and decision-making.
Recusal and Independence:
Editors and editorial board members with a direct or indirect involvement in a submitted manuscript will recuse themselves from the decision-making process. The manuscript is handled by other qualified editors to ensure independence and fairness.
Communication of Decisions:
Authors of articles authored by editors or editorial board members receive the same clear communication regarding the peer review process and decision outcomes as other authors.
PAFMJ is committed to continuous improvement in its peer review process. Feedback from authors, reviewers, and editorial board members is actively sought and analyzed to enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the peer review system.
This comprehensive Peer Review Policy outlines the key steps, principles, and ethical standards that guide the peer review process at PAFMJ, emphasizing transparency, impartiality, and continuous improvement.