Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Referee Guidelines

Conflict of Interest
When asked to review a manuscript, you should disclose to the Editor any conflicts of interest that could bias your opinion of the manuscript. If you believe that you cannot judge a manuscript impartially because of contact with the authors or a possible conflict of interest, please decline the invitation to review and provide an explanation to the Editor. Importantly, the perception of a conflict of interest is as significant as an actual conflict of interest.

Financial or business relationships are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal and authors. Conflicts can also occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, or intellectual or ideological beliefs.

Possible conflicts of interest may occur when reviewers:
1. have a history of serious (unresolved) disagreement with the authors
2. have been recent (i.e. in the past 3 years) collaborators or jointly published papers
3. are currently employed at the same institution or have a mentor/mentee relationship
4. were part of an internal review panel for the paper before submission.

If you are unsure whether the potential for bias exists, please ask the Editor.

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Privacy of unpublished results
An unpublished manuscript is a privileged document. Please protect it from any form of exploitation. Do not cite a manuscript or refer to the work it describes before it has been published and do not use the information that it contains for the advancement of your own research or in discussion with colleagues.

Do not discuss the manuscript with its authors unless permission has been granted by the Editor. Although it may seem natural and reasonable to discuss points of difficulty or disagreement directly with the author, especially if you are generally in favour of publication and do not mind revealing your identity, this practice is prohibited because the other referee(s) and the Editor may have different opinions, and the author may be misled by having ´cleared things up´ with the referee who contacted him/her directly.

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Reviews should be completed within 21–28 days. If you know that you cannot finish the review within that time, please contact the Editorial Assistant immediately. In addition, if you believe that you cannot judge a given article impartially through contact with the authors or a possible conflict of interest, please return it immediately with an explanation.

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The review
The review should give your overall impression of the manuscript, and list the major shortcomings. Please consider the following aspects in particular:

  • The novelty of the work, and whether there is sufficient originality and substance to be worthy of publication
  • The articulation of the rationale or hypothesis
  • The appropriateness of the experimental design and analyses
  • Authors have documented human or animal ethics approval if relevant and considered ethical and welfare issues as appropriate
  • The quality of the technical analysis, and the correct use of units
  • The interpretation of results
  • Awareness (cogent discussion) of related international research

It would be helpful to the Editor to comment on unnecessary length and to point out figures and tables that have secondary importance and could be presented as Supplementary Material.

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Grammatical editing
You are not requested to correct deficiencies of style or mistakes in grammar, but any help you can give in clarifying meaning will be appreciated (track changes can expedite the editing process; a MS Word file, in addition to the PDF, is available in ScholarOne by accessing the Manuscript Files tab). The copy-editing staff employed by Crop & Pasture Science will edit each accepted manuscript. It is their function to polish and correct the grammar, syntax, and spelling and to enforce the editorial style of the journal. However, be on the lookout for errors that the copyeditors (who are trained plant scientists but not necessarily specialists in the particular subject area of the manuscript) might miss. Examples are misspellings of chemical names, use of outmoded terminology, misspelled or misidentified scientific names of organisms, inappropriate scientific jargon, and incorrect genetic nomenclature.

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What happens next?
When you open ScholarOne Manuscripts to submit your report, you will be offered some questions with a check box. The answers to these are for the use of the Editor, and are not conveyed directly to the authors. The most important are the first and last: the quality of the manuscript and your recommendation.

Keep a copy of the review in your files. If you have recommended ´major revision´, the revised manuscript may be returned to you for further comment.

If the paper is accepted, you will be sent a PDF when it is published online.