I) Editorial Peer Review general information
The Editorial Peer Review is a system used by journal editors to inform their decisions about manuscript publication. It depends on critique and feedback from individuals who are not involved in the manuscript preparation, but who are considered knowledgeable about the subject. The aim of Editorial Peer Review is to improve research and other articles before publication, as well as to decide which articles get published.
The reviewers generally do the service of reviewing the work of their peers free of charge as part of their responsibilities towards academia (i.e. as their work was reviewed by their peers). Additionally, reviewers will achieve several benefits such as staying up to date as they read the latest results/opinions in the field even before publication, practice critical appraisal skills, increase their own knowledge, and getting status as part of the academic community.
II) Contribution to Editorial Decisions
Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper. Peer review is an essential component of formal scholarly communication, and lies at the heart of the scientific method. In addition to the specific ethics-related duties described below, reviewers are asked generally to treat authors and their work as they would like to be treated themselves and to observe good reviewing etiquette.
Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible, should notify the editor and decline to participate in the review process as soon as possible (generally within 48 hours).
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. Reviewers must not share the review or information about the paper with anyone or contact the authors directly without permission from the editor.
Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage.
IV) Alertness to Ethical Issues
A reviewer should be alert to potential ethical issues in the paper, and should bring these to the attention of the editor, including any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which the reviewer has personal knowledge. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. (Please check Publication Ethics on IQJAP website or in the IQJAP’s Authors Guide).
V) Standards of Objectivity & Competing Interests
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Reviewers should be aware of any personal bias they may have and take this into account when reviewing a paper. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
Reviewers should consult the Editor before agreeing to review a paper where they have potential conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
If a reviewer suggests that an author includes citations to the reviewer’s (or their associates’) work, this must be for genuine scientific reasons and not with the intention of increasing the reviewer’s citation count or enhancing the visibility of their work (or that of their associates).
The Iraqi Journal of Architecture and Planning (IQJAP) only selects those who are considered the most knowledgeable in their fields to review the articles submitted to it for publication. The selection of a reviewer is based on a number of factors, the most important of which are reviewer’s availability and specialization alignment with that of the article under review.
This journal uses Double-blind reviewing process, which means that both author name(s) and reviewer name(s) are concealed from each other throughout the review. Author and reviewer anonymity prevents any bias, for example based on an author's country of origin or previous controversial work. Additionally, articles written by prestigious or renowned authors are considered on the basis of the content of their papers, rather than their reputation. Generally, manuscripts are evaluated on the basis that they present new insight into the investigated topic and are likely to contribute to research progress or a change in practice.
Please follow the following steps for successful review:
I) STEP 1: THE REVIEW REQUEST
As a reviewer at IQJAP, you have to familiarize yourself with the process and general guidelines for publishing at IQJAP through reading the Authors Guide and Reviewers Guide (this guide). Generally, you will receive Reviewing Request Email from the IQJAP editorial office asking you to review a specific article. A copy of the article under review (without authors’ names) and the Article Evaluation Form will be attached with the email. If any of those files are missing or corrupted, please report at once to the editorial office.
You should try to respond to the Reviewing Request via replying to the email as soon as possible (generally 48 hours) so not to delay the whole publication process. You should accept the reviewing request only if:
1) The manuscript sent match your expertise
If you receive a manuscript that covers a topic that does not sufficiently match your area of expertise, please notify the editorial office as soon as possible. Please feel free to recommend alternative reviewer, it will be appreciated.
2) Have enough time to review the manuscript
Generally, finished reviews of an article should be completed within two weeks. If you do not think you can complete the review within this time frame, please let the editorial office know and if possible, suggest an alternative reviewer. In order for your review to be efficient, it is wise to allocate at least three uninterrupted hours per week to read the article, evaluate it, and provide constructive feedback.
If you have agreed to review a paper but will no longer be able to finish the work before the deadline, please contact the editor as soon as possible. You can submit a reviewing extension request to the editorial office with reasons for the extension (need more time to finish the evaluation, require further data from the author, or have unexpected circumstances).
3) There is no potential conflict of interests
While conflicts of interest will not disqualify you from reviewing the manuscript, it is important to disclose all conflicts of interest to the editors before reviewing. If you have any questions about potential conflicts of interests, please do not hesitate to contact the receiving editorial office.
If you feel you are not qualified/best suited to review an article, please decline the reviewing request as soon as possible while providing reasons for your decline. This information will be used to improve reviewing process’s speed and efficiency, and update our database.
II) STEP 2: THE REVIEW
The deadline for reviewing any article and sending the final evaluation form is usually two weeks after receiving the reviewing request approval, however, reviewers can submit their final evaluation forms earlier if they feel there is nothing more to add and are certain of their decision. Before you start reviewing the article, you should be aware that IQJAP seeks to publish experimental and theoretical research results of outstanding significance in the form of original research articles, review articles, conference papers, and perspective/commentary articles. Although it is the authors’ responsibility to define his/her/their article as the appropriate type and comply with the corresponding general criteria as described below, reviewers should carefully check and confirm that the right article type was chosen for the manuscript under review. (For more details, please check the Authors’ Guide – Article Types)
Despite the article type, there are general criteria for evaluating the manuscript. Generally, reviewers are required to judge the manuscript validity to be considered for publication at IQJAP based on those criteria:
1) Article alignment with journal aims and scope
Is the article in line with the aims and scope of the journal? Does it satisfy the general criteria for the specific field of research selected by the author(s)?
2) Content Quality and Originality,
Is the article sufficiently novel and interesting to warrant publication? Does it add to the canon of knowledge? Does the article adhere to the journal's standards? Is the research question an important one? In order to determine its originality and appropriateness for the journal, it might be helpful to think of the research in terms of what percentile it is in? Is it in the top 25% of papers in this field? You might wish to do a quick literature search using tools such as Scopus to see if there are any reviews of the area. If the research has been covered previously, pass on references of those works to the editor.
3) Organization and Clarity
Title: Does it clearly describe the article?
Abstract: Does it reflect the content of the article? Is it the right length?
Introduction: Does it describe what the author hoped to achieve accurately, and clearly state the problem being investigated? Normally, the introduction should summarize relevant research to provide context, and explain what other authors' findings, if any, are being challenged or extended. It should describe the experiment, the hypothesis(es) and the general experimental design or method.
Method: If the data used were primary data, Does the author accurately explain how the data was collected? Is the design suitable for answering the question posed? Is there sufficient information present for you to replicate the research? Does the article identify the procedures followed? Are these ordered in a meaningful way? If the methods are new, are they explained in detail? Was the sampling appropriate? Have the equipment and materials been adequately described? Does the article make it clear what type of data was recorded; has the author been precise in describing measurements?
Results: This is where the author/s should explain in words what he/she discovered in the research. It should be clearly laid out and in a logical sequence. You will need to consider if the appropriate analysis has been conducted. Are the statistics correct? If you are not comfortable with statistics, please advise the editor when you submit your report. Interpretation of results should not be included in this section.
Conclusion/Discussion: Are the claims in this section supported by the results, do they seem reasonable? Have the authors indicated how the results relate to expectations and to earlier research? Does the article support or contradict previous theories? Does the conclusion explain how the research has moved the body of scientific knowledge forward?
Tables, Figures, Images: Are they appropriate? Do they properly show the data? Are they easy to interpret and understand?
4) Article and author(s) compliance to Research Ethics
Although IQJAP continuously improve its system to identify any ethical issues such as plagiarism, such systems are not always successful. The existence/clarity of the different precautions taken by the author to limit any ethical issues and comply with the research ethics could be one of the criteria for evaluation and/or areas for further improvement. This is, however, a very sensitive subject and it is one of the reviewers obligations to inquire further details from the author(s) via the editorial office about any part of the article to identify any potential ethical issues if he/she suspect anything. This includes any supplementary data not included in the manuscript itself, such as raw/primary data, sampling… etc.. Reviewers can check for any ethical issue such as:
Plagiarism: If you suspect that an article is a substantial copy or translation of another work, please let the editorial office know. Please cite the previous work in and provide as much detail as possible
Fraud: It is very difficult to detect the determined fraudster, but if you suspect the results in an article to be untrue, discuss it with the editorial office.
Other ethical concerns: Has confidentiality of the sample participants been maintained? Has there been a violation of the accepted norms? If so, then these should also be identified to the editorial office.
III) STEP 3: FINAL COMMENTS, EVALUATION AND RECOMMENDATION
After finishing the review and regardless of the final recommendation, reviewers are required to reply to the Reviewing Request email with the filled Article Evaluation Form attached. The Feedback should adhere to the IQJAP standards and should be numbered according to article page numbers. Generally, you will have four options to choose from as your final evaluation decision:
1) Accepting the Article - No revisions required
In this case, the article is excellent quality and could have an important role in advancing the academic knowledge. The article adheres to IQJAP aims, scope and standards and has no issues or areas for further improvement.
2) Accepting the Article - Revisions required - No need for re-evaluation.
In this case, the article is very good quality and could have an important role in advancing the academic knowledge. The article mostly adheres to IQJAP aims, scope and standards, however, minor revisions and improvements are required before publishing.
3) Accepting the Article - Revisions required - Further evaluation is needed.
In this case, the article is good quality and could have an important role in advancing the academic knowledge. The article needs further improvements in order to be aligned with IQJAP aims, scope and standards. These improvements are critical for the article to be published, thus it should be returned to you after revision to re-evaluate. Please keep in mind that you can accept or reject after re-evaluation. You can also decide to accept the article while requiring further revisions with/without re-evaluation a second time if you see necessary.
4) Rejecting the Article.
In this case, the article is poor quality or lakes the requirements for advancing the academic knowledge. Alternatively, the article does not adhere to IQJAP aims, scope and standards and has multiple issues that it could not be accepted for publication in its current state.
Your recommendation regarding an article will be strongly considered when the editors make the final decision, and your thorough, honest feedback will be much appreciated. Please remember when writing comments to indicate the section of comments intended for only the editors and the section of comments that can be returned to the author(s). Please never hesitate to contact the receiving editorial office with any questions or concerns you may have.