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Peer review

Eurosurveillance is dependent on the expertise of its reviewers and is grateful for their input. A list of our reviewers is published annually: those who reviewed for us in 2012 are acknowledged here.

All submissions are assessed initially by the editorial team or an associate editor: those that pass the initial screening are then sent for review (except editorials, meeting reports, news and letters). We use double-blind review, i.e. the manuscript is anonymised and the identity of authors and reviewers is kept confidential.

Reviews will be handled through our online submission system. When a reviewer registers on the system, they are asked to provide details of their expertise. It is helpful if reviewers give as much detail as possible, to allow reviewers with the appropriate expertise to be selected.

Reviewers should be aware that:

  • we expect them not to pass on the manuscript to a third party nor to discuss its contents before publication;
  • they should indicate if they consider they have insufficient expertise to evaluate certain aspects of a paper (e.g. statistics, modelling, laboratory diagnosis);
  • they must disclose any conflict of interest that would prevent them from objectively evaluating the manuscript;
  • they must have read and agreed to the terms of the Eurosurveillance data protection notice;
  • their comments for the authors will be shared anonymously with the other reviewer(s) of the manuscript;
  • we may ask them to assess the revised manuscript, to ensure that their comments have been adequately addressed.

Please give the editor, based on your detailed comments to the authors, a clear recommendation on whether the paper should be
1. published. This is for papers that are nearly perfect as they are.
2. published after satisfactory revisions. This is for work that you consider worth publishing in principle; you think that the flaws you have highlighted can be sorted out and you do not expect that the corrections will alter the results and conclusions. It is helpful for the editor if you indicate which of your suggested improvements are essential for publication.
3. rejected with an invitation to resubmit. This is for work that you consider interesting enough to be published in principle, but the flaws are such that the expected correction would change the paper so much that the validity of the revised version would need to be judged again by an expert. Please bear in mind that an invitation to resubmit is still a rejection and involves a second full review process, it should be recommended only if the presented information is worth the effort, otherwise you should not recommend a resubmission.
4. rejected. This is for submissions that you do not consider valuable for our readership or that contain flaws that you consider cannot be solved by a revision.

The reviewers will be informed of the editorial decision following peer review.

Details of what we ask reviewers to look for when assessing a manuscript are given in the following links:

Reviewing rapid communications To the topTo top

Rapid communications are timely, authoritative short reports on communicable disease findings and events where rapid dissemination of information could potentially lead to a prompt change in an ongoing public health situation or create awareness for topics we consider to be of timely relevance. They therefore go through a fast peer review process, as they are generally published within a few days after submission. Consequently, reviewers are asked to send their comments within 48 hours. We generally seek only one review per rapid communication, but we may where necessary send a rapid communication to more than one reviewer.

We ask reviewers to consider in particular the following aspects:

  • timeliness
  • public health implications
  • European relevance (the paper may describe public health events outside of Europe, but the relevance to European countries needs to be clear)
  • validity of the methodology
  • scientific importance
  • presentation quality
  • originality (what the paper adds to what has already been published).

Further examples of what to consider when reviewing are listed here.

Reviewers can address these issues by adding comments to the manuscript or by sending their comments, through the online submission system, to the editorial team. Reviewers receive a pdf file that contains the text and any figures and tables. For rapid communications only, reviewers have access to the source files, so they can comment directly in the text if they would like to.

The reviewers’ comments will be anonymised and passed on to the authors. In cases where more than one review is sought for a rapid communication, the comments for the authors will be shared with the other reviewer(s).

When suggesting changes, reviewers should bear in mind that the rapid communications are intended to be short (usually around 1,000 words) and should not have an IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion) structure. It is helpful if reviewers can indicate which changes are essential for publication.

Separately, reviewers should also state clearly whether they consider that the rapid communication should be accepted (usually subject to satisfactory revision) or rejected, in the light of their review. Reviewers can also indicate if they consider publication as a regular article, rather than a rapid communication, is warranted. This advice is confidential (for the editorial team’s use only) and the final decision regarding publication is taken by the editorial team.

The revised manuscript is always edited by the editorial team.

Reviewing regular articles (Research articles, Surveillance and outbreak reports, Review articles, Euroroundups, Perspectives) To the topTo top

We ask reviewers of regular articles to send their comments within two weeks, if possible. We always obtain at least two reviews per article. In addition we may ask for a statistician’s expertise.

Reviewers are expected to assess all parts of the article carefully, paying particular attention to the following aspects:

  • public health implications
  • European relevance (the paper may describe public health events outside of Europe, but the relevance to European countries needs to be clear)
  • validity of the methodology
  • scientific importance
  • presentation quality
  • originality (what the paper adds to what has already been published).

Further examples of what to consider when reviewing are listed here.

Comments for the authors should be included on the reviewing form. on the online submission system. These anonymised comments will also be shared with the other reviewer(s) of the article.

On the form, reviewers are also asked to indicate whether they consider that the article should be accepted (usually subject to satisfactory revision) or rejected, in the light of their review. This advice is confidential (for the editorial team’s use only) and the final decision regarding publication is taken by the editorial team.

The revised manuscript is always edited by the editorial team.

Items to consider when reviewing a manuscript To the topTo top

(Based on Crombie. The pocket guide to critical appraisal, BMJ, 1996)

General

  • Is the study/information an important addition to the already published knowledge? What is the novelty value of the study?
  • Is the manuscript relevant for the scope of the journal (for Eurosurveillance: it should contain important information on the epidemiology, surveillance, prevention or control of communicable diseases, with relevance to Europe)

Abstract

  • Does it cover the essential information?

Introduction

  • Is the rationale for the study/information clear?
  • Are the aims clearly stated?
  • Is it well referenced? (appropriate, sufficient, as recent as possible?)

Methods

  • Is the design appropriate for the stated objectives? (study population, control groups, sample size, data collection)
  • How were the data collected? Same methods for cases and controls (if relevant)?
  • Are the statistical methods described and sound? Was the statistical significance assessed (i.e. the play of chance ruled out)? Is there controlling for confounders?
  • Was the sample size justified?

Results

  • Was the study carried out as planned? What was the quality of follow-up?
  • What was the response?
  • Is there a possibility of selection bias?
  • Were the basic data adequately described?
  • Do the numbers add up? (in the text, and in tables/figures)
  • Are the measurements / estimates likely to be valid and reliable, i.e. are results biased? Can the results be generalised?
  • Were relevant outcome measures ignored?
  • Is there redundant information?

Tables/figures

  • Should there be more/fewer/different tables/figures?
  • Are they clear (axes/headings/legends present and correct)?
  • Do they show what is said in the text?
  • Can text and figures be read and understood on their own?

Discussion/Conclusions

  • Are the findings well interpreted? Are there alternative, unmentioned, explanations that could explain the results? Are the conclusions based on the findings of the study?
  • How are null findings interpreted?
  • Are important effects overlooked?
  • Are the results sufficiently compared with previous reports?
  • Are the implications of the findings sufficiently discussed?
  • Are recommendations sensible and supported by the results?
  • Is it well referenced?
  • Are the public health impact and European relevance stated where appropriate?

Disclaimer:The opinions expressed by authors contributing to Eurosurveillance do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) or the editorial team or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. Neither ECDC nor any person acting on behalf of ECDC is responsible for the use that might be made of the information in this journal.
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