Mission and Scope of the YJBM
The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (YJBM) is a graduate, medical, and professional student run peer-reviewed, open-access journal dedicated to the publication of original research articles, scientific reviews, articles on medical history, personal perspectives on medicine, policy analyses, case reports, and symposia related to biomedical matters. It is published quarterly and aims to publish articles of interest to both physicians and scientists.
All manuscripts submitted to the Journal are first evaluated on the basis of scientific quality, originality, appropriateness, contribution to the field, and style. Suitable manuscripts are then subject to rigorous, fair, and rapid peer review.
The Peer-Review Process at YJBM
When a manuscript is submitted to YJBM, it is first checked for plagiarism by our Editors. After satisfying this requirement, our Editors will send out the manuscript for Peer Review. The Editors ask Reviewers to send back their comments within 1 to 2 weeks of receipt of the manuscript. Manuscript peer-reviewing and revisions are carried out through Scholastica, an online academic journal software system. More detailed descriptions of Scholastica and the review process are under “Writing and Submitting a Review.”
Manuscripts and the reviews are discussed at the Editorial Board’s monthly meetings. These discussions, along with the responses from our Reviewers, help the board make a final decision on each manuscript. Even if the Editorial Board chooses to deal with a specific manuscript in a way that was not recommended by the Reviewer, this does not mean that the Reviewer’s comments were not taken into account, but it is the job of the Editorial Board to make the final decisions on publication.
The Editors will send each Reviewer a copy of the final decision letter for a given manuscript. YJBM Reviewers should know that the reviews passed onto Authors are anonymous, unless a specific Reviewer wishes to make himself or herself known to the Authors. The Editors do not edit reviews sent to the Authors unless the Editors feel that the language used is offensive and does not provide constructive criticism. Editors will contact the Reviewers if more information is required to make the review more comprehensive to the Author and to enable the Editors to make a final decision. The aim of the Peer-Review process is to provide YJBM Editors with added insights into the articles received by the journal. Reviewers will help identify the following:
• Which articles are of interest to the readers of YJBM
• The strengths and weaknesses of a given manuscript
• How the Editors can work with the Authors to improve the submitted manuscripts, if the topic and scope of the manuscript areof interest to YJBM readers.
The Peer-Review process benefits not only the Editors, but also the authors. Peer Review provides an essential way of educating Authors by helping them improve their writing and communications skills and enables them to better voice their opinions or improve the explanation of data or ideas being presented. When reviewing a manuscript, Reviewers should keep in mind the following questions:
• Is the writing clear and easily accessible to all readers of YJBM?
• If a reader of YJBM were approaching the topic of the manuscript for the first time, would he or she learn enough to enable him or her to better read more articles on the topic?
• If specific sections or points within the manuscript are unclear, how can the Author make his or her point clearer?
• Are there significant pieces of information missing from the manuscript?
• Are all the statements or claims made by the Author supported by original or published data? If published data is used or referred to, is this data cited accurately?
• If figures and tables are included, are these clear and do they help the reader understand the manuscript better?
Expectations of a Reviewer for YJBM
Reviewers are expected to provide a fair and balanced review of a specific manuscript. The reviews are to be clear and easy for the Author to understand how a Reviewer came to a particular conclusion. If specific manuscript changes are requested, the Reviewer must explicitly state where in the manuscript a change should be made by stating the page, section, and paragraph in which the change is requested. We ask that Reviewers be respectful to Authors for the time spent in preparing a manuscript, so the Reviewers should take the time to review each manuscript carefully. Many Authors’ first language is not English and Reviewers should take this into account.
Reviewers for YJBM are asked to submit their reviews in a timely manner, preferably 1 to 2 weeks after receipt of the manuscript. If, for whatever reason, they are unable to review a manuscript within the given time, they are asked to contact the Editors before the deadline, so the Editors can re-assign the manuscript to alternative reviewers or communicate the delay to the Authors.
We hope Reviewers will be honest and make the Editors aware of any competing interests that affect their ability to review a given manuscript. YJBM considers a Reviewer to have a competing interest if he or she is a direct competitor, dislikes a specific Author or topic, or may profit from the publication of a specific manuscript. We ask that the Reviewers specifically state within the comments to the Editors whether they have a competing interest for a given manuscript.
We expect our Reviewers to keep the contents of any manuscript confidential and if they wish to review a given manuscript with a fellow colleague that they consult with the Editors before sharing the contents of the manuscript.