Core Responsibilities of Research Paper Reviewers They Must Fulfil

Research Paper Reviewers
Research paper reviewers play an important role in the aspect of paper reviewing, and finalising. Reviewers analyse research papers submitted to journals according to the needs, and pre-defined criteria of that journal in terms of quality, accuracy, and the completeness of research. They provide comments on your research and recommend improvements that can be a great help for research paper as well. A research paper reviewer also suggests to the editor whether to reject, request changes, or accept the paper.

Reviewers have some core responsibilities towards the author, readers, and editors in terms of practising justice, and their expertise. There are some mistakes if the reviewer makes them, and these can affect the whole review process. This article presents the core responsibilities that research papers reviewers must fulfil in general.

Reviewer Responsibilities toward Authors

The main responsibility that reviewers have is towards the authors. This responsibility demands the provision of fair feedback. The reviewers should provide written, and unbiased feedback. They should give a timely response that fulfils scientific value of the research. They should also provide their opinions about the different segments of a research. A reviewer should indicate whether the writing is clear, or not. Is it concise, or not? Does it fulfil the criteria of relevancy? He should rate originality, scientific accuracy, and composition of the research paper, along with interests of the readers. In other words, he should assess the whole research paper, and provide justified, as well as fair feedback about the research paper. This should be done by taking into account the various perspectives of reviewing.

Avoiding Personal Comments and Criticism

Reviewers should review the research paper without any biases. He should not add his personal feelings, ideas, and comments to it. He should review it according to the subject guidelines, and requirements instead. He should also maintain confidentiality of the whole reviewing process. He should not share, or discuss it with external parties either. The reviewer should not disclose any kind of information about the paper reviewed. He should also refrain from adding personal criticism as comments of the paper being reviewed.

Reviewer’s Responsibilities towards Editors

Research paper reviewers also have some responsibilities towards the editors. In any case, if he’s unable to review the research paper on time, he should inform the editors on time as well. He can also recommend the names of other potential reviewers if he’s not available for reviewing a research paper. He can alter the editor as well if he has any personal, and potential financial issues with him/her. The reviewer can also decline reviewing of a research paper when he sees any possibility of occurrence pertaining to conflict with the editor.

A research paper reviewer should follow editor's written instructions, and expectations of journal. He should also follow quality of reviews, as well as the content, and scope of research. He should provide constructive, fair, and productive critique of the submitted research paper. This also includes supplementary material given by the author of that research paper. He should determine originality, scope, and quality of that research paper as well.

The research paper reviewer should provide written recommendations for improvements too. He should accept, or reject a research paper with the use of some standard scale that the editor finds useful. He should note all the ethical concerns within this context as well, and ensure that there are no violations in this domain. Ethical concerns may be a violation of the accepted characteristics regarding ethical treatment pertaining to both animals, and humans. There can be issues of plagiarising someone else’s work too. So a reviewer should check if the research paper was submitted to another journal or not for transparency purposes.

Refraining from Direct Author Contact

One of the core responsibilities of a research paper reviewer is that he should play his role through fair means. He should do his work without any biasness towards the author. During review of the research paper, he should not contact the author. He should scale the research paper as per standard scales, and requirements. He should refrain from giving any unfair advantage to the author as well.

Reviewer Responsibilities toward Readers

A research paper reviewer has great responsibility towards readers of the research paper. This is because it’s his responsibility to ensure that the methods are presented in such detail which the readers can understand with ease. He should ensure that the readers can judge the merit of that study's design, and can replicate it as well if needed. He should also assess whether all the information gathered from other relevant sources is cited properly, or not.

Ethical Responsibilities of Reviewers

The research paper reviewer should not share, or discuss the paper's content with anyone who is not a part of the review process unless the editor gives permission. The reviewer's comments should take into account positive aspects of the paper under review. He should identify negative aspects of the paper, and should recommend improvements accordingly. If the reviewer thinks that his abilities are limited to reviewing a particular type of paper only, he should let the editor know. A reviewer is not required to be an expert in every field, and he should only review papers of the fields he has expertise in.

Comments, and conclusions of a research paper reviewer should also be based on unbiased, and objective considerations regarding the facts. These should be exclusive of any personal bias. The reviewer should also give all comments based on originality, quality, and scientific merit without any regards to origin, sex, religion, race, or citizenship.

Refrain from Impropriety

Research paper reviewers should refrain from misrepresenting the facts while reviewing. He should not delay the reviewing process, or unfairly criticise the work of a competitor. He should abide by the rules and regulations of this process, and should not breach the review based confidentiality aspects. He should not propose the improvements that support his work, or argument either.

It is his responsibility to make sure not to use confidential information for getting a personal advantage. He should also refrain from using the ideas and thoughts from the research paper under review. The reviewer should disclose conflicts of interest even if they exclude him from the process of reviewing. On the whole, these are the core responsibilities of a research paper reviewer that must be kept in mind while reviewing a research paper.

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