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Instructions for Referees

  • Peer review objective. The journal maintains a standard double-blind peer review process. The main objective of the process is to select high-quality papers for the journal. At the same time, the process should provide the authors with useful feedback on their work. Key to the process are independent reports from two referees.
  • Format. A referee’s report should consist of two parts: (1) a cover message with a concise and candid appraisal of the manuscript and a recommendation to editor about publication, and (2) separate, unsigned comments that may be sent to the author(s).
  • Cover message. The recommendation to editor should be one of the following:
    • Accept (with minor revisions). If a manuscript is clearly acceptable, please explain why in the cover letter. Any minor comments that improve the paper will be passed to the author(s).
    • Reject. If a paper is clearly unacceptable, please explain why. The author(s) may benefit from comments if they submit the paper elsewhere.
    • Revise and resubmit. If the manuscript shows promise but requires a substantial revision, please be specific about what is needed. Suggestions may include organization, omissions, opportunities for shortening, weakness in or lack of evidence for the main argument, exposition, and logical coherence.
  • Comments for the author(s). Referees have substantial flexibility as to the format of their comments. It is useful to start with a concise and clear summary of the main comments (i.e., what the referee likes and dislikes about the paper), followed by bullet points with more specific comments. There are no guidelines on length of referees’ comments, other than that the report should be long enough to provide a sufficient background for the referee’s recommendation to the editor. On average, the reports are about 3 pages long, but there are shorter ones (often those recommending rejection) as well as longer ones (e.g., those with many specific comments).
  • Key criteria. When assessing the paper, please focus on:
    • Originality. Does it provide a substantial original contribution to the literature? Can it be interesting to a wide range of professional readers?
    • Quality. The paper must be correct. Are there inconsistencies or other mistakes in the paper? If the paper contains mistakes, is there at least a promise of a high quality paper in reasonable time?
    • Persuasiveness. Are you convinced by the evidence produced? Does the paper provide sufficient information to support the arguments being made? Does the paper use methods adapted to available data and the issues at stake?
    • Clarity. Does the paper effectively convey the main findings? Is it understandable? Could its structure be changed to present the findings in a more convincing way? Are all sections of the paper interesting and relevant?
  • Data. Authors are expected to provide whatever material is needed to ensure that their results can be replicated. If the referee considers it necessary, underlying data will be requested from the author(s).
  • Double-blind refereeing. The journal strives to ensure that neither referee knows the author(s) or the other referee, and vice versa. On occasion, the identity of the author(s) may be obvious (e.g., if an earlier version of the paper has been presented in a conference); nonetheless, the referee should still provide a fair and balanced review of the manuscript. In any case, under no circumstances will the identity of the referees be disclosed to the author(s) or to any other third party.
  • Integrity of peer review process. The CJEF takes integrity of the peer review process seriously. Referees should treat the manuscripts and related data files and other information confidentially and not share them with third parties. If there is a conflict of interest (e.g., because of financial ties between the referee and the author), the referee should indicate it to the editor.
  • Deadline. We try to provide speedy yet thorough review of the submitted manuscripts. To achieve this, we usually ask referees to send their reports within 3-4 weeks from receiving the manuscript, unless agreed otherwise with the editor.
  • Submitting the report. The report should be sent to editor in charge of the manuscript, copied to redakce@fsv.cuni.cz. The preferred formats are Word or PDF documents, or plain text in the email message.
  • Recognition. As a small thank-you, we recognize here the journal’s reviewers in recent years. (If you do not want to be included in the list, please let us know at redakce@fsv.cuni.cz.) Also, we provide the referees with a hard copy of one issue of the journal.