Information for Reviewers

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) and American Journal of Veterinary Research (AJVR) Information for Reviewers


At JAVMA and AJVR, we understand that reviewing a manuscript requires time and expertise. Reviewers play a critical role in the publication process, helping authors improve their paper, and driving excellence in our veterinary profession. We value our reviewers, and in acknowledgment we offer CE credits for qualifying reviews. Learn more in our reviewer center.


How do I become a reviewer?

Contact Stacey Geelan (sgeelan@avma.org). We will help get you signed up and offer mentoring if you would like it.


Before you begin a review

Deadline: Reviewers are asked to return their reviews within 2 weeks. Please notify the editor as soon as possible if you will not be able to meet this deadline.

Qualifications: Notify the editor immediately if you believe that you lack the expertise to adequately assess a manuscript review invite or if you have any conflicts of interest regarding a manuscript or its authors.

Confidentiality: Reviewers should not distribute or discuss the content of any manuscript with colleagues, students, or other parties unless they have permission from the Editor-in-Chief. Please do not contact the authors directly.

Additional resources: The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has published a set of Guidelines for Peer Reviewers that we recommend reading prior to beginning a review. We also recommend the Clarivate Web of Science Academy. The Academy is a free-of-charge course providing individuals with the skills required to become an expert peer reviewer.

What to include in a review

Reviewers should be objective and constructive. They should provide a review that includes a brief overview of their assessment of the manuscript and comments about each of the manuscript's sections, identifying (by page and paragraph or line number) aspects of the manuscript that are concerning. Reviewers should not state in their comments to the authors whether the manuscript should be accepted or rejected or whether the manuscript is suitable for the journal. Such comments can be provided in the confidential comments to the editor and in the reviewer’s selected recommended decision. Reviewers will also complete a key-issues checklist for each manuscript reviewed. This checklist, the reviewer’s recommendation decision, and confidential comments to the editor are not sent to the authors but are used for editorial purposes only.

To assist reviewers, we have developed a list of factors that should be considered when evaluating a manuscript. Questions about these guidelines or about any manuscript that has been submitted for review should be directed to the editor assigned to the manuscript.

Factors to consider when evaluating manuscripts submitted to JAVMA

In case they are helpful during your review, our instructions for authors are available at JAVMA Instructions for Authors.

Overview

Importance

  • Is the purpose of the study clear and is the objective of the study relevant?
  • Are there sufficient new and important findings to warrant publication?
  • Has any or all of the information in the manuscript been published previously?

Experimental methods

  • Are the experimental methods appropriate for the study?

Interpretation

  • Do the data support the conclusions?

Presentation

  • Is the writing clear, concise, and readable?
  • Should any sections of the manuscript be expanded, condensed, or eliminated?

Specific manuscript sections

Title

  • Is the title a clear, accurate representation of the article's content?
  • Is the title declarative?

Abstract

  • Is the abstract a clear, concise (< 250 words), accurate representation of the major findings of the study?

Introduction

  • Is the introduction focused only on relevant aspects of the topic?
  • Is the reason for performing the study clearly stated? That is, are both the hypothesis/hypotheses being tested and the clinical relevance stated?

Materials and Methods

  • Is the study design valid and are the experimental methods appropriate?
  • Are the experimental methods described in sufficient detail?
  • Are the methods for selecting test and control subjects appropriate?
  • Were the animals treated humanely?
  • Do the authors address potential confounders and biases in subject selection?
  • Are statistical methods valid? Do you think additional statistical review is needed?

Results

  • Are the data presented in a clear and understandable manner with appropriate flow?
  • Do the authors account for all animals?
  • Are the results credible?
  • Are the calculations correct? We do not ask reviewers to recalculate findings but do ask them to comment if calculations appear questionable.
  • Do the tables, text, and figures agree with and complement each other?
  • Are all tables and figures necessary, or is there repetition of material?

Discussion

  • Are any results mentioned for the first time in the Discussion?
  • Do the authors interpret the data rather than simply restating the results?
  • Are strengths and weaknesses of the methods used acknowledged?
  • Are any ideas or conclusions over- or underemphasized?
  • Do the authors provide a balanced view of the importance of the results?
  • Do the authors cite relevant work published by others?
  • Are all conclusions supported by the results?
  • Are any key issues not addressed?
  • Is all of the discussion relevant?
  • Do the authors make any recommendations not supported by their data or that are beyond the scope of the study?

References

  • Are all references pertinent, or are some inconsequential?
  • Are primary sources of information cited (preferred), or have the authors relied on review articles, textbooks, or other secondary or tertiary sources (discouraged)?
  • Are reviewers aware of any important references that have been omitted? If so, please cite them for the author’s consideration.

Making your recommendation

In addition to providing your review comments, you will be asked to make a recommendation of accept, minor revision, major revision, or reject.

Accept: No revisions requested. The manuscript is suitable for publication as is.

Minor revision: The manuscript is sound in concept and methodology. The manuscript is sent back to the authors for minor clarification such as language or to address questions about arguments or citations. It is not the number of comments from a review but rather the substance of the comments that makes the difference between a minor and major revision.

Major revision: The concept of the manuscript is sound, but there could be a request for revision of statistics or a challenge to an argument or conclusion.

Reject: The research performed in the manuscript is of insufficient quality for publication. In general, authors should be given an opportunity to defend their work through revision. A recommendation to reject should be reserved for those manuscripts where there is at least one fatal flaw in the study design or data acquisition that cannot be rectified by revising the manuscript.