Guide for reviewers

The Traffic Safety Research (TSR) journal highly values time and efforts invested by the peer reviewers. With your help, we make sure that the quality of our publications meets the highest standards set for scientific research.

The inspiration for these guidelines came to a high degree from the 'Ethical guidelines for peer revieweing' provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).


Before accepting the commitment

Please, consider the following:

  • If this is your first review, make sure that you are familiar with the open peer review procedure accepted by the TSR journal. In a nutshell, the reviewers' names are disclosed when a paper is accepted and published.
  • Does the article match your area of expertise? Accept only if you are familiar well enough with the subject of the paper.
  • Do you have a competing interest? Inform the editor when you respond. Competing interests do not automatically exclude you as a reviewer, this decision is taken by the editor.
  • Do you have time? For the editor, it is better to receive a straight ‘no’ and search for another candidate rather than to chase a review that never comes.

Review process

Remember that the editor requires a fair, honest, and unbiased assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript. Even though you can provide comments visible to the editor only, most of the feedback should be put in the text that the authors will see. Confidential comments should not be a place for denigration or false accusation, done in the knowledge that the authors will not see them.

Confidentiality

Please, treat the manuscript as a confidential document. This means you can’t share it with anyone without authorization from the editor. You must not share information about the review itself either.

Accountability

The following applies:

  • Prepare the report by yourself. In case you want to use the opportunity to train your students in the reviewing process, you must first get a permission from the editor and, when submitting the review, give the people invovled the credits they deserve.
  • Refrain from unfair negative comments when reviewing the work of your competitors.
  • Do not suggest that authors include citations to your work merely to increase its citation count or to enhance its visibility. The suggestions must be based on valid academic or technological reasons.
  • Do not intentionally prolong the review process, for example by delaying the submission of your report or by requesting unnecessary changes from the author.
  • If you are the editor handling a manuscript and decide to provide a review of that manuscript yourself (perhaps if another reviewer could not return a report), do this transparently and not under the guise of an anonymous additional reviewer.

Direct contacts with authors

There should be none, simple as that, during the entire review process. The communication with authors is handled by the journal.

Manuscript origins and authorship

Your comments and decision on the manuscript should not be affected by the knowledge of the authorship or the origin of the manuscript.

Suspicion of ethics violations

In case you suspect that some misconduct took place, either in the research itself or during the manuscript writing and submission, inform the editor immediately. It is appropriate to cooperate, in confidence, in the journal investigation, but do not personally take further actions unless we ask you for additional information or advice.


Review structure

The review consists of several predefined questions and a free text part. The predefined questions reflect the aspects that the Editoreal team considers important in deciding whether a paper should be published or not.

The free text part should include the following components:

  • Step 1. Start with a general overview of whether the paper addresses a relevant research question and makes a valuable contribution to the current bulk of knowledge on traffic safety.
  • Step 2. Add some major comments with regards to the choice and application of the method, data and data analysis quality, soundness of the discussion and conclusions.
  • Step 3. Add minor comments related to the language use, errors in the text, graphs and tables, etc.

Consider specifically the following aspects of the work under review:

  • Problem formulation. Is it clear what the problem the authors are attempting to address? Is it a relevant problem? Have the authors properly reviewed what has already been done on the problem by others?
  • Methodology. Do authors use a sound and appropriate methodology (the latest 'hottest' method is not necessarily the best for the problem at hands)? Is the methodology properly described to a degree that it can be replicated?
  • Research data and visualisations. Has the data been collected in an appropriate way (with regards to ethics, technical limitations, and potential bias sources)? Is the data collection procedure described sufficiently so that it can be replicated? Are the data and analysis results visualised in a readable and comprehensive way, without unnecessary details and repetitions?
  • Results, discussion and conclusions. Are the reported findings supported by the data? Is the discussion sufficiently elaborated and does it put the findings in the context of already existing knowledge, relate to earlier studies, outline the limitations and uncertainty sources of the current work? Are the conclusions concise and solely based on the findings, avoiding general and trivial statements?

Reviewer recognition

Reviewers have a possibility to register their contributions at the ReviewerCredits, a platform to certify, measure and reward peer review activities. Read more about the benefits of the registration and the practical steps involved here.


After the review

Once you have completed your review, the following happens:

  • Final decision. The final decision on the paper is made by the handling editor based on the reviewers’ recommendations. In case the reviews are contradicting, the editor may ask for an opinion of an additional reviewer.
  • Revisions. If the authors were recommended to revise their manuscript, you may be asked to check whether your comments have been addressed appropriately and the paper can now be accepted for publication.
  • Identity disclosure. To acknowledge the efforts being made, the TSR journal makes public the names of both the handling editor and the reviewers of the accepted papers. If a paper is published against the recommendation of a reviewer, his/her name is not disclosed. Neither are revealed the names of the reviewers of the papers that have been rejected.