Peer-Review Guide

Peer reviewers are a critical component of the publication process, ensuring quality and relevancy of articles accepted for print as well as assisting in author development. All reviews are completed online only at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/onf, so access to a computer and Internet is required. Below is some information to assist in your peer review. Or contact pubONF@ons.org for assistance. 
 

Reviewer Responsibilities

  • Complete 3-4 reviews annually. 
  • Complete appropriate forms. 
    • ONS antitrust (initially and annually)
    • ONS conflict of interest (initially and annually)
    • Contact information (update as needed)
    • Areas of expertise (initially and as requested)
  • Provide reviews that are constructive and supportive. 
  • Complete reviews according to the deadline provided, usually 2-3 weeks.
  • Maintain confidentiality of all content. Manuscripts under review cannot be duplicated, quoted, or distributed. Any manuscript files should be destroyed after review completion.
 

Invitation Process

  • After submission, the manuscript is initially reviewed by the editor and staff to ensure appropriateness for the journal. 
  • The editor identifies potential reviewers based on their self-selected areas of expertise. Also considered is the timing of the most recent review. 
  • Potential reviewers receive an email invitation containing the manuscript’s abstract.
    • Reviewers can accept or decline to review. 
      • Long-term unavailability can be indicated after logging into https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/onf. Select User ID/Password from the dropdown menu below your name. Change availability at Unavailable Dates.  
 

Review Process 

  • To review and score a manuscript you’ve accepted, go to https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/onf and sign on with your username and password.
  • After logging in, click on the Review tab at the top of the screen.
  • Find the manuscript to which you are currently assigned under the Review and Score heading.
  • Click Select under the Action heading to view the following available options:
    • Continue Review
    • View Abstract
    • View Proof (in a new window)
    • Contact Journal
  • Click Continue Review to begin your review. 
  • View and read the manuscript to the left of the screen.
    • Click the Proof tab on the upper left of the PDF and select Open PDF to view the manuscript in a separate browser window.
      • Tip: To scroll through the manuscript PDF, ensure that your cursor is hovering over the PDF proof.
    • Click Open HTML to view the Microsoft Word copy of the manuscript in a separate browser window.
    • Click the Details tab to view the manuscript details.
  • Read the manuscript at least three times. The first is to gain a general impression, and the second and third readings will help identify areas for improvement or revision. 
  • On the right-hand side of the screen, access Review Guidelines and complete the Score Sheet, responding to all reviewer questions. Tip: To scroll down on the Score Sheet, hover your cursor anywhere outside of the PDF proof.
    • Comments to the author are provided verbatim.
    • Comments to the editor are seen only by the editor and editorial staff. 
    • Additional files, such as reference materials, may be attached. Attachments can be directed to the (a) editor and editorial staff or (b) the editor and the author.
  • Recommend the manuscript’s next step. Should the manuscript be accepted, revised, referred elsewhere, or rejected? There are several levels of acceptance.
    • ​Accept manuscript
    • Accept with revisions 
    • Resubmit for second review 
    • Substantial revision needed
    • Reject manuscript
  • Click Save as Draft when you are finished. 
  • Click Submit to complete the process. 
  • Note: Contact the editor with any concerns about the review by clicking the Contact Journal link above the Score Sheet. Alternatively, you may contact the editorial office at pubONF@ons.org.
 

Tips for Review Comments

  • Avoid rewriting, correcting grammar and punctuation, or correcting reference styles. 
  • Instead, identify the major strengths and weaknesses and provide specific suggestions for improvement.
  • Comment on the clarity of the content as well as its presentation.
    • Do the title and abstract represent the work?
    • Are reference materials interpreted correctly?
    • Do tables and figures support the work?
  • Discuss the appropriateness and accuracy of the information.
  • Are the references pertinent, timely, balanced, and evidence based?
  • See these sample reviews.
 

After the Review

  • The editor will consider all manuscript reviewers’ comments and render a decision.
  • You will receive blinded copies of the editor’s letter to the author.
    • Review this letter. It contains all reviewer comments to strengthen your future reviews.
  • If a manuscript is revised and resubmitted, you will be provided the opportunity to re-review.
 
Thank you for participating as a reviewer. Contact us at pubONF@ons.org with any questions.