Standards

The Australasian Journal of Plastic Surgery follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication”. The uniform requirements state the ethical principles in the conduct and reporting of research and provide recommendations relating to specific elements of editing and writing. Reviewers should be aware of the content of this document.

In addition, the journal requires authors to comply with “Best Practice Guidelines on Publication Ethics: A Publisher’s Perspective”. When reporting experiments on either human subjects or animals, authors must provide evidence that the research was in accordance with appropriate ethical standards. Reviewers should notify the Managing Editor (journal@plasticsurgery.org.au) if they have concerns about the ethical standards of a manuscript.

Peer review process

Double-blind peer review

The Australasian Journal of Plastic Surgery has adopted a double-blind peer review process for original and review articles and cases. This involves an initial assessment by the relevant section editor and, if accepted for review, detailed assessment by up to three external peer reviewers (with a minimum of two).

A paper may go through more than one round of peer review before a recommendation is reached. The review recommendation is sent to the section editor for endorsement and final approved sought from the editors-in-chief. At all stages of external peer-review the details of the authors and reviewers are withheld from each other to ensure anonymity. 

Internal review

Members of the AJOPS editorial board must declare their affiliation with the journal.

A section editor who is a co-author of a paper will remain anonymous throughout the review process. If the paper is accepted, their affiliation to the journal will be added prior to publication.

Papers authored by a member of the journal’s editorial team are assessed by the editors-in-chief who may recommend internal peer review. All papers authored by AJOPS section editors will be clearly identified as such.

Table 1: Peer-review of content type

Type

External* double-blind peer review?

Internal** peer review?

Original articles

Yes

At the discretion of editors-in-chief when the author is an AJOPS section editor

Review articles

Yes

At the discretion of editors-in-chief when the author is an AJOPS section editor

Case reports

Yes

No

Case series

Yes

No

Editorials – by invitation

No

No

Features – by invitation

No

No

Letters to the editor

No

At the discretion of editors-in-chief

Perspectives

No

At the discretion of editors-in-chief

‘How to do it’ guides

No

At the discretion of editors-in-chief

Practical non-clinical skills for surgeons

No

At the discretion of editors-in-chief

Media reviews

No

At the discretion of editors-in-chief

* External peer-review involves a minimum of two external reviewers and a maximum of four (three being the goal)
** Internal peer-review is undertaken by members of the AJOPS editorial team at the discretion of the editors-in-chief
Articles authored by section editors will be clearly indicated as such
Invited features will be clearly indicated as such

Reviewing

Thank you for contributing your time, enthusiasm and expertise to being a reviewer for the Australasian Journal of Plastic Surgery.

Being invited to review a manuscript is an honour as it reflects your eminence in a particular aspect of surgery. We are indebted to you for ensuring that we continue to improve the standard of articles that appear in the Australasian Journal of Plastic Surgery.

We appreciate that, while reviewing manuscripts has its own intrinsic rewards, it is an onerous task. No reviewer should be asked to comment on more than six manuscripts a year. At the end of each year, we express our gratitude by publishing a list of the reviewers for that year.

If you experience any adverse event arising from double-blind peer review, or would like to tell us your views, please email journal@plasticsurgery.org.au.

Confidentiality

All unpublished manuscripts are confidential documents. If we invite you to review an article please do not discuss it even with a colleague. If you would like to pass it on to someone else to review, please email journal@plasticsurgery.org.au first.

Reviewers are responsible for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of the authors’ work while it is being evaluated for publication. Manuscripts sent for review are privileged communications and are the private property of the authors. Information gained through working with manuscripts must not be used for private gain in any way.

Conflict of interest

Reviewers must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as presenting a potential conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest can arise between you, your financial and personal relationships, your work and the manufacturers of any drugs or devices mentioned in the submission.

Evaluating manuscripts

It is the responsibility of reviewers to critically evaluate manuscripts. Nevertheless, it is important that reviewers adopt a positive and impartial attitude toward the manuscript under review with the aim of enhancing the quality of the manuscript. Reviewers are in a privileged position and must avoid using language that is either emotive or derogatory.

We appreciate that, while reviewing manuscripts has its own intrinsic rewards, it is an onerous task. No reviewer should be asked to comment on more than six manuscripts a year. At the end of each year, we express our gratitude by publishing a list of the reviewers for that year.

Reviewers should be aware of the requirements for the manuscript type they are being asked to review. See guidelines on the AJOPS website: http://ajops.com/index.php/ajops/about/submissions

Checklist

Reviewers complete a peer review form that begins with a checklist to evaluate how well author(s) have addressed the following criteria:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Relevance to the journal
  • Importance to archival principles and practices
  • Contribution to the literature
  • Organisation of ideas and supporting points
  • Quality of research methodology
  • Development of major points, relevance of evidence and quality of reasoning
  • Conclusion with justification from evidence presented
  • Errors in usage, spelling, punctuation, and reference formatting.

Then specific comments such as whether the manuscript’:

  • title accurately represents the information presented
  • abstract is succinct and contains hard data
  • statistics need to be reviewed by a biostatistician and if so, why
  • tables/figures are all essential
  • has been plagiarised, or any significant part of it
  • topic would be of interest to the AJOPS readership.

Additional comments

The review form concludes with space for additional comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript. Additional comments provide a valuable insight into the reviewer's assessment of the manuscript and assist the section editors to make final recommendations as well as authors to improve their manuscripts.

Reviewers should not submit corrections for spelling and grammatical errors; if a manuscript is poorly written but contains important information, reviewers should suggest referral to a professional editing service at the author's expense. Accepted manuscripts go through a rigorous editing process; it is not the role of the reviewer to undertake this work.

PLEASE NOTE: A checklist alone is not considered a complete review. Please take the time to add one or two sentences on the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript.

Recommendations

Reviewers are asked to make a recommendation about the suitability of a manuscript for publication (very few submissions qualify for an immediate unconditional acceptance). Reviewers may:

  • ACCEPT. The submission is acceptable for publication. Minor corrections may need to be made.
  • REVISIONS REQUIRED. The submission is not acceptable as submitted. Encourage the authors
    to revise the manuscript.
  • DECLINE. The submission does not meet standards for publication. 

Revisions

Your willingness to review revised manuscripts is greatly appreciated but not required. You will be asked whether you are available or willing to do so. Suggested revisions should be stated as such and not expressed as conditions of acceptance.

Some tips for providing a detailed review

What are your impressions of the overall quality of the manuscript? Consider the manuscript’s:

  • Abstract: Are the authors’ objectives clearly stated? Does the abstract accurately reflect the stated aims of the paper?
  • Methods: Are the methods adequately described? Are the main outcome measures clear? Are the participants adequately described, their conditions defined, inclusion and exclusion criteria described? How representative are they of patients for whom this evidence might affect? Is there sufficient detail for an interested reader to replicate the study? Do the statistics need to be reviewed by a biostatistician? Was the study ethicical?
  • Results: Are the results concise? Do they answer the research question? Are they credible and well presented? Do they contain appropriate statistical analysis?
  • Discussion: Does the discussion start with an overall comment about the findings and then critically evaluate the main issues raised by the study (for original and review articles)? Does the discussion flow clearly from one paragraph to another?
  • Conclusion: Does the discussion end with conclusions that are relevant and consistent with the data presented? Manuscripts that end with vague comments such as “further research is needed in this area” are not acceptable.
  • References: Are the references up-to-date and relevant? Are they appropriate in number? Have the author(s) included citations to similar work? Are there any glaring omissions?

Submitting your form

Timeliness is important. Reviews should be completed within 21 days. If this is not possible, or the submission is not in your area of expertise, please notify the Managing Editor so alternative arrangements can be made. You will be notified of the outcome of the editorial process when a final recommendation is made.

You may submit your form online or via email or fax. For assistance, please contact the Managing Editor, Jacqueline Spedding. Please note: Jacqueline works Tuesday to Thursday and can be contacted in the office on Thursdays on +61 2 9437 3041 or by email: journal@plasticsurgery.org.au. Documents can faxed to the office on + 61 2 9437 9210.

Thank you for contributing your time, enthusiasm and expertise to being a reviewer for the Australasian Journal of Plastic Surgery ensuring its growth and success. 

Prof Mark Ashton MBBS MD FRACS
Dr Mark Lee MBBS FRACS
Editors-in-chief
Australas J Plast Surg
Australasian Journal of Plastic Surgery