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Peer Review

The primary criteria for judging the acceptability of a manuscript are its quality, novelty, and scientific importance. However, editorial decisions are based not just on the technical merits of the work, but also on factors such as priority for publication, presentation of the material, and relevance to the journal’s general readership.

At the discretion of the Editors, a manuscript may be rapidly rejected, without external peer review, if it is deemed uncompetitive or outside the scope of the journal. All manuscripts are judged in relation to other submissions currently under consideration.

Manuscripts that have passed initial screening by the Editors are reviewed by at least 2 (typically 3) external experts in the field. The Editors select reviewers and make the final decision on the manuscript. Reviewers remain unknown to the authors, but the authors are not anonymized. Every manuscript is treated by the Editors and reviewers as privileged information, and they are instructed to exclude themselves from review of any manuscript that may involve a conflict of interest or the appearance of such.

Rebuttals to rejection decisions are strongly discouraged, and requests for resubmission of rejected manuscripts are generally not granted without demonstration of significant errors in the review or decision process. Most articles are rejected on grounds of insufficient priority or lack of relevance to hematology, not data quality or technical issues.

Instructions for reviewers

Our expert reviewers are instrumental in achieving the high quality and prominence among medical journals that Blood Advances strives for. We greatly appreciate your participation in our peer review process and the contribution of your time and expertise.

Please note that all information regarding a submitted paper must be kept confidential.

By accepting an invitation to review you certify that you have no conflict of interest, either financial or professional. Please notify the editor and recuse yourself from reviewing a manuscript if you believe you have a direct financial interest in the subject of the manuscript or a relationship with an author or affiliated institution that may represent a potential conflict relevant to review of the manuscript, such as current employment at the same institution, recent mentoring, competing research, personal animosity, close collaboration, or a joint grant.

Code of Conduct

Reviewers are expected to convey their criticisms and recommendations in a respectful, professional manner. The journal encourages critical review that holds submissions to a high standard of scientific quality and expression. However, comments that disparage authors personally or target a specific race, gender, or ethnicity for criticism are unacceptable. Reviews including such remarks will have those remarks removed and such a review may be withdrawn by the editor entirely. Multiple incidents will result in a reviewer being removed from the journal’s reviewer pool.

What criteria should I use to write my review?

If the manuscript includes actual data, are the methods employed adequate and appropriate for the questions being addressed? Are the conclusions justified given the data presented?

If the manuscript does not present original data, but instead provides a review or perspective on a topic, are the content, style, and tone of the manuscript appropriate? Are the arguments balanced? Will the manuscript stimulate constructive discussion?

Is the presentation clear? Are the style and organization high quality?

How important and novel is the work submitted?

Do the conclusions of the study provide important and sufficiently novel results to advance the field?

If, in your judgment, the submission lacks sufficient scientific rigor, or fails to sufficiently advance the field, please tell the authors and the editor. 

When you provide comments to the author, be as clear and constructive as possible. In your confidential remarks to the Editor, please give your honest opinion about the suitability of the paper for publication in Blood Advances. Indicate your rating with a priority score from 1 (best) to 5 (worst). Please be reminded that any appearance of conflict of interest or suspicion of duplicate publication, fabrication of data, or plagiarism should be reported to the Editor immediately.

If you feel that a few additional experiments are needed to justify or enhance the scientific basis of the conclusions, please request that the authors do so. However, please keep in mind that you are asked to evaluate the work as it has been submitted in its current form, so we advise against asking the authors to perform extensive new experiments. If after a careful assessment you feel that extensive additional experiments are needed, it is usually better to recommend that the paper be rejected.

What overall recommendation can I make?

As reviewer you are given four options to choose:

  • Reject
  • Major Revision needed
  • Minor Revision needed
  • Accept

What is the difference between Major and Minor Revision decisions?

An important distinction in your recommendation is between “major” and “minor” revision.  “Major” revision for experimental manuscripts means that any new data should be obtainable, and the manuscript modified, within 3 months of the editor’s decision to invite a revision. For clinical manuscripts, data handling/analysis and manuscript modification should be achievable within this 3-month period.  “Minor” revision usually refers to relatively simple changes to the data presentation or text.

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