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Review Process

1. Criteria for Publication

The Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education receives many more submissions than it can publish. Therefore, we ask peer reviewers to remember that every accepted paper means another good paper must be rejected. To be published in the Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, a manuscript should meet these four general criteria:

  • Provide strong evidence for its conclusions.
  • Be novel.
  • Be of extreme importance to scientists in a specific field.
  • Ideally, interesting to researchers in other related disciplines.


2. Review System

The Editor-in-Chief reads all submitted manuscripts to evaluate their suitability for further review. Only papers that meet our editorial criteria are sent for formal review to save time for authors and peer-reviewers. Those papers judged by the Editor-in-Chief as having insufficient general interest or otherwise inappropriate are rejected after Desk Review promptly without external review (although these decisions are often based on advice from specialists in the Editorial Board).

Manuscripts of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal review, typically to one or more reviewers. The Editorial Board then make a decision based on the reviewers’ feedback.


3. Peer-Reviewers

The Journal of Advocacy, Research and Advocacy follows a rigorous and independent peer-review process that ensures the published articles’ quality and validity. Peer reviewers are expected to evaluate manuscripts objectively, constructively, and without bias. They should provide insightful feedback to help authors improve their work and make unbiased recommendations based on evidence and best practices to the Editorial Board.

Reviewers should disclose any conflicts of interest affecting their impartiality in reviewing a specific manuscript. They should recuse themselves if they have personal or professional relationships that could compromise the integrity of the review process. All reviewers’ identities are kept confidential, fostering an environment of mutual trust and respect among all participants in the peer review process.


4. Selecting Peer-Reviewers

Reviewer selection is critical to the publication process, and we base our choice on many factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations and our own experience with a reviewer’s characteristics. We check with potential reviewers before sending them manuscripts to review, although authors are permitted to make suggestions.


5. Writing the Review

The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with the information needed to reach a decision. The review should also instruct the authors on strengthening their paper to the point where it may be acceptable. As far as possible, a negative review should explain to the authors the weaknesses of their manuscript so that rejected authors can understand the basis for the decision and see in broad terms what needs to be done to improve the manuscript. This is secondary to the other functions, however, and referees should not feel obliged to provide detailed, constructive advice to the authors of papers that do not meet the criteria for the journal (as outlined in the letter from the editor when asking for the review). If the reviewers believe that a manuscript would not be suitable for publication, their report to the author should be clearly stated without negative words and suggest possible ways to improve the article for future submission.


6. Anonymity

We do not release reviewers’ identities to authors or other reviewers except when reviewers specifically ask to be identified. However, unless they feel so strongly, we prefer that reviewers remain anonymous throughout the review process and beyond.


7. Peer-Review Publication Policies

All contributions submitted to the Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education selected for peer review are sent to at least one - but usually two or more - independent reviewers selected by the editors. Authors are welcome to suggest suitable independent reviewers and may also request that the journal excludes one or two individuals or laboratories. The journal sympathetically considers such requests and usually honours them, but the editor’s decision on the choice of referees is final.


8. Ethics and Security

Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education editors may seek advice about submitted papers from technical reviewers and any aspect of an article that raises concerns. These may include, for example, ethical issues or issues of access to data or materials. Occasionally, concerns may also relate to the implications to society of publishing a paper, including security threats. In such circumstances, advice is usually sought simultaneously with the technical peer-review process. As in all publishing decisions, the ultimate decision as to whether to publish is the responsibility of the Editorial Board of the journal concerned.


9. Editorial Decisions

The Editorial Board is entrusted with making well-informed decisions regarding accepting, revising, or rejecting submitted manuscripts. They evaluate manuscripts based on originality, significance, scientific rigour, clarity, and adherence to the journal’s scope and guidelines.

The board guarantees that all decisions are made without any influence of personal biases, political considerations, or commercial interests. The integrity and quality of the research are the foremost considerations in their decision-making process. The Editorial Board is committed to timely communication with authors, providing clear and constructive feedback.

Editorial decisions made on articles under review include the following:

  • Accept: The manuscript is accepted for publication in its current form, indicating that the reviewers and the editor find it high quality and suitable.
  • Minor revisions: The manuscript requires minor revisions to address specific issues or comments from the reviewers or the editor. These revisions are typically straightforward and can be addressed within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Major revisions: The manuscript needs significant modifications to improve its content, structure, methodology, or overall clarity. The reviewer’s comments and suggestions highlight substantial changes that need to be made before the article can be reconsidered for publication.
  • Revise and resubmit: The manuscript has potential, but substantial changes are required. The author is encouraged to revise the manuscript thoroughly, considering the reviewers’ and the editor’s comments and suggestions. The revised article will then be reevaluated as a new submission.
  • Reject with the option to resubmit: The article is not suitable for publication in its current form, but the editor believes that with significant revisions and improvements, it could be reconsidered for publication. After addressing the concerns raised, the author is invited to revise and resubmit the article as a new submission.
  • Reject: The article does not meet the journal’s or publication’s standards or requirements. The reasons for rejection can vary, such as lack of originality, poor methodology, insufficient quality, or misalignment with the journal’s scope.
  • Transfer: In some cases, the editor might decide that the article is unsuitable for the Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education but may be better for a different journal within other sister journals. The author is given the option to transfer the submission to another journal for consideration.
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