Guidelines for Reviewers

Genetic Resources is a peer-reviewed journal and acknowledges reviewers dedicating their time to ensure a consistently high quality of publications in the journal. The journal therefore publishes a list of reviewers on an annual basis. We also invite all referees to sign up to the publons network, where they can log reviews submitted to Genetic Resources

The journal uses a double blind-review scheme, which means that neither the identity of the reviewers nor that of the authors is revealed. However, reviewers may choose to make their review publicly available without being identified themselves, in order to enhance transparency of the review process. 

For more information, see About the Journal.

We ask referees to carefully review the guidelines below. Please contact the editor with any questions or concerns.

General Guidelines

  • Importance of peer reviewing

Peer review is an essential part of formal scholarly communication and lies at the heart of the scientific method. 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 reviewers need to recognize the importance of their role and commit to contributing high quality work to the process of publishing scholarly research.

  • Promptness

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 excuse themselves from the review process. If a selected referee agrees to review a paper, they should then adhere to timelines set by the editor.

  • Confidentiality

Any papers received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.

  • Standards of objectivity

Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments, providing constructive criticism. 

  • Acknowledgement of sources

Reviewers are encouraged to be alert to redundant publication and plagiarism. Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.

  • Disclosure and conflicts of interest

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. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.

Using the online review system

The peer review and editorial processes of Genetic Resources are facilitated through Open Journal Systems (OJS), an online editorial system. The system sends the Reviewer an email notification with a review request, initiated by the Handling Editor or the Editorial Office. The online system will also notify about delays in the reviewing and confirm a successful review submission. The email notifications contain stepwise instructions about the actions needed at each stage along with the link to the respective manuscript (accessible only after login). 

The Public Knowledge Project provides a free online course on how to become a Reviewer including guidance on the use of the OJS system. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the managing editor (s.goritschnig@cgiar.org). 

Submitting a Review

Reviewers are asked to include in their report a brief summary of the reviewed manuscript, to ensure that they understood it and the review is not based on a misunderstanding of the paper. Reviewers are requested to provide, in free form, their considerations on the submitted manuscript with respect to the following points, as relevant:

  • Is the topic of the manuscript within the scope of Genetic Resources?
  • If the manuscript describes original research is the study design sound and appropriate?
  • Are the methods and materials sufficiently well explained to allow the experiments to be reproduced, if appropriate?
  • Are the experiments and data analyses appropriate for the study and do the data support the conclusions of the authors? If not, what other evidence should be provided?
  • If appropriate, is statistical significance well documented (e.g. as confidence intervals or P-value)?
  • Are the original data deposited in appropriate data repositories that are publicly available and accession numbers or DOIs given?
  • Are the provided references appropriate, relevant and up to date? Are there any obvious, important references that should have been included and have not been?
  • Does the manuscript adhere to applicable standards for research and publication ethics?
  • Is the language and grammar appropriate? (Since Genetic Resources is not providing language editing, please provide detailed suggestions for improvement if appropriate!)
  • If considered unsuitable for publication in Genetic Resources in its present form, should the authors be invited to resubmit a revised version of the study?

Reviewers may provide one of the following recommendations to the editor:

Accept submission (with or without minor revisions):
The study and conclusions are technically sound and the manuscript is written clearly enough that it may be accepted, requiring only minor additions or editorial modifications.

Revision required:
The study is of interest to the field and the journal, but requires some additional research or re-writing to be acceptable for publication. The review highlights aspects that need improvement which could be addressed by the authors in a short timeframe. The recommended revisions can be completed under supervision of the responsible editor.

Resubmit for review:
The study is of some interest to the field and the journal, but needs significant re-writing, improvement in the research described, or additional experiments to be performed in order to be considered for publication. The review highlights significant gaps or the need for reorganization of the manuscript. The reviewer feels that the recommended modifications require another round of reviews. The resubmitted manuscript may be sent to the same reviewers for the second round of reviews. 

Decline:
The study is of limited interest to the field or requires extensive additional research or re-writing before being suitable for publication. The review identifies substantive gaps and the reviewer feels that the recommended revisions can not be completed in an appropriate timeframe.