Instructions for reviewers

Instructions for reviewers

Instructions for reviewers
Guidelines for Manuscript Reviewers

Biomedicine and Surgery reputation for excellence depends upon the professionalism of its volunteer reviewers. As a biomedical journal, it invites reviewers from a variety of disciplines to ensure that manuscripts meet high quality standards appropriate to the scholarly disciplines the manuscripts represent. Biomedicine and Surgery also is an interdisciplinary journal, in that it seeks to promote conversation and cross-fertilization among the various scholarly endeavors that have something to say about all aspects of biomedicine. Thus in addition to expecting that manuscripts meet high discipline-specific standards, Biomedicine and Surgery also expects manuscripts to be reasonably accessible to a readership that reflects multiple disciplinary backgrounds. Consequently, reviewers also assist in determining how well manuscripts make accessible, or "translate," the sometimes technical perspectives of particular disciplines. Biomedicine and Surgery prides itself on a developmental review process, wherein even rejections provide authors with valuable advice.

The points below provide general guidelines for reviewing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Editor (the editor who sent you a request to review) at

1. Timeliness in reviewing is essential. Many submissions are from junior faculty whose tenure or promotion might depend on the outcome of a review. Please try to meet the deadlines given for reviews. If you cannot meet the deadline, please let the managing editor know when to expect your review.

2. Disclose potential conflicts of interest. We hope for a double-blind review process, but, occasionally, scholars recognize others' work. If you think you cannot give an impartial review, of course you should disqualify yourself. If you think that recognizing the author's work will not prevent you from giving an impartial review, notify the editor who asked you to do the review of the potential appearance of conflict of interest.

3. Report suspected plagiarism or other breaches of ethics. We do check accepted papers against a database of published articles, but if you notice plagiarism or other breaches of ethics during your review, notify the editor.

4. Disclose limitations. If you are uncertain about some aspects of a manuscript, or think certain aspects of a manuscript are outside your expertise, please let the editor know. For example, if you are obviously one of the biomedical science reviewers on a manuscript, yet the particular methodology used in the paper is unfamiliar to you, please let the editor know.

5. Manuscripts should be considered confidential. Under no circumstances should you distribute them further, or make any other use of them, without first contacting the editor, who will then discuss the request with the author.

6. Regarding your comments for authors:

a. Do not identify yourself or your institution in your comments for the authors. Do not use letterhead. Do not say, "In my work (Smith, 2010) …" or "Here, at the University of X, we…"

b. Do not include overall recommendations in your comments to the authors ("This paper is publishable," "This paper is unacceptable," "This paper should not be published," etc.). General recommendations should appear only in comments you provide separately for the editor. Reviewers often disagree; it is the editor’s job to make an overall recommendation about publishing.

c. We prefer that you provide your comments by pasting them into the text box provided on the system. You also have the option to upload your comments as a .pdf document. Please do not upload a .doc file. If you do upload a .pdf document, make sure it is fully blinded (your name neither in the document or in document properties).

d. Review the "Instructions for Authors" document (linked in the menu on the right) to remind yourself of Biomedicine and Surgery requirements and scope. It is especially important for your review to address the potential for the article's original theoretical contribution to the literature.

e. Please number each comment. This makes it much easier for editors and authors to discuss specific concerns and issues in a manuscript.

f. Please cite page numbers when referring to specific sections of the manuscript.

g. Authors will receive an anonymous copy of your comments. Always be polite, scholarly, detailed, and constructive. Use a professional style in preparing your comments. Avoid disparaging interjections, ad hominem remarks, and offensive exclamations.

h. Always talk about the paper, not the author. Scrutinize the issues, ideas and methods, not the author. Your review should reflect your scholarly judgment and expertise.

i. Be consistent; don’t write a very promising set of comments to the author, and then say very negative things in the evaluation form you provide to the editor (or vice versa).

j. When you make recommendations to an author, provide enough detail for the author to understand why you make the recommendation. Instead of just "You should discuss Weber’s work." it is better to say "You should discuss Weber’s theory of the relationship between capitalism and Protestantism, because the social dynamics described in that theory are very similar to the social dynamics you are discussing." Provide specific citations to help the authors find the literature you are referencing.

k. Even if you think a manuscript is seriously flawed, try to give the author suggestions as to how it might be improved. Also be sure to identify the strengths of a paper, and consider whether and how those strengths might be salvaged.

l. Sometimes you will receive a manuscript which obviously is written by someone whose first language is not English. In these cases, please be sure to distinguish, as best you can, between the quality of writing and quality of ideas. Writing problems in an otherwise insightful paper could be fixed in revision, or by partnering with a coauthor whose first language is English.

Thank you!


Introductory resources for peer reviewers can be found on Cambridge Core here


Guidance on ethical peer review can be found on Cambridge Core here