The review process is an important aspect of the publication process of an article. It helps editors in making decision on an article and also enables the author(s) to improve their manuscript. The African Journal of Agricultural Research operates a double-blind peer review system.
Before accepting to review a manuscript, reviewers should ensure that the manuscript is within their area of expertise and that they can dedicate the appropriate time to conduct a critical review of the manuscript. Reviewers should also adhere to the guidelines below.
Conflict of Interest
“Conflict of interest (COI) exists when there is a divergence between an individual’s private interests (competing interests) and his or her responsibilities to scientific and publishing activities such that a reasonable observer might wonder if the individual’s behavior or judgment was motivated by considerations of his or her competing interests” WAME.
“Reviewers should declare their conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from the peer-review process if a conflict exists” ICMJE
Manuscripts are confidential materials given to a reviewer in trust for the sole purpose of critical evaluation. Reviewers should ensure that the review process is confidential. Details of the manuscript and the review process should remain confidential during and after the review process.
“The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own” Oxford Dictionaries
It is unethical for reviewers to “use information obtained during the peer-review process for their own or any other person’s or organization’s advantage, or to disadvantage or discredit others” COPE
Reviews should be honest and objective. Reviewers should not be influenced by:
• The origin of the manuscript
• Religious, political or cultural viewpoint of the author
• Gender, race, ethnicity or citizenry of the author
In evaluating a manuscript, reviewers should focus on the following:
• Contribution to the field
• Technical quality
• Clarity of presentation
• Depth of research
Reviewers should also:
• Observe that the appropriate journal’s reporting guidelines is followed.
The report should be accurate, objective, constructive and unambiguous. Comments should be backed by facts and constructive arguments with regards to the content of the manuscript. Reviewers should avoid using “hostile, derogatory and accusatory comments” PIE.
Reviewers should not rewrite the manuscript. However necessary corrections and suggestions for improvements should be made.
Reviewers should only accept manuscript that they are confident that they can dedicate appropriate time in reviewing. Thus, reviewers should review and return manuscripts in a timely manner.
Reviewers’ recommendation should be either:
• Requires minor corrections
• Requires moderate revision
• Requires major revision
• Not suitable for the journal. Submit to another journal such as (suggest a journal):
Recommendation should be backed with constructive arguments and facts based on the content of the manuscript.