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Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Reviewer Guidelines

Reviewers are expected to follow the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers, and must give unbiased consideration to each manuscript. They should judge each on its merits, without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, seniority, or institutional affiliation of the author(s). It is expected that reviewer feedback to authors is constructive, courteous and clear. If you are in any doubt about the expectations for reviewers, advice should be sought from the Editor.

The review

When you are ready to complete your review please use the Online Peer Review system.

Points for consideration:

  1. Do you expect the results to have a high impact in this field?
  2. Do the data obtained verify the hypotheses and conclusions?
  3. Is the work experimentally and/or theoretically sound?
  4. Is the work sufficiently complete for publication? If not, what further work would you recommend be carried out before the work is published?
  5. Is the title appropriate?
  6. How could the presentation be improved?
  7. Is the English expression sufficient that the author´s reasoning can be clearly followed?
  8. Is the format consistent with that outlined in the Instructions to Authors?
  9. Are all figures and tables necessary or would they be more suitable for lodgement as accessory material?
  10. Is the number and selection of references appropriate?
  11. Have ethical practices been followed and relevant ethics approval documented where applicable?

It is expected that reviewer feedback to authors is constructive, courteous and clear. In line with COPE Guidelines: Editing Peer Reviews, editors have discretion to edit the contents of review reports in limited circumstances to address issues of tone, language, and deviations from journal policy and reviewer guidelines. In doing so the editor should not change the meaning or intention of the review, nor amend or edit the professional opinion put forth by the reviewer about the quality, content, or intellectual validity of the work. The editor will inform the reviewer of any significant edits made to their review and will also advise the author that the review contents have been edited for a specific reason. A review will not be suppressed entirely unless there are ethical or legal concerns about the contents of the review.

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Conflict of Interest

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 reviewer(s) and the Editor may have different opinions, and the author may be misled by having 'cleared things up' with the reviewer who contacted him/her directly.

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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.

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Annual Reviewer Index

An index of reviewers consulted during the previous year is published in the journal.

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Committee on Publication Ethics


An English Language Editing Service is available for authors submitting to Australian Health Review.