The blind review is an essential aspect of the manuscript evaluation publication process. It helps an editor in deciding on a submission. Also, it enables the author to improve the manuscript.
Before accepting the request to serve as a referee for a submission, the reviewers should make sure that:
- the article is within their area of expertise;
- they can dedicate the appropriate time to perform a proper review of the submission.
Several ethical issues should be considered during the review process:
- Conflict of Interest. “Conflict of interest (COI) exists when there is a divergence between an individual’s private interests (competing interests) and his or her responsibilities to scientific and publishing activities such that a reasonable observer might wonder if the individual’s behavior or judgment was motivated by considerations of his or her competing interests” (see WAME Conflict of Interest in Peer-Reviewed Medical Journals). ”Reviewers should declare their conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from the peer-review process if a conflict exists” (see ICMJE Responsibilities in the Submission and Peer-Review Process).
- Manuscripts are confidential materials given to a referee in trust for the sole purpose of critical assessment. The review process should be confidential, i.e., all the details of the manuscript should remain confidential during the review process.
- It is unethical for referees to “use information obtained during the peer-review process for their own or any other person’s or organization’s advantage, or to disadvantage or discredit others” (see COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers).
- Reviewer’s reports should be objective and honest. Referees should not be influenced by any religious, cultural, or political viewpoints, the origin of the manuscript and the author, or by their race, ethnicity, gender, race, or citizenship.
In evaluating an article, reviewers should concentrate on its originality, originality, contribution to the field, technical soundness and quality, presentation clarity, and depth of research.
The reviewer’s report should be objective, accurate unambiguous, and constructive. Constructive arguments and facts should back remarks. Referees should refrain from using “hostile, derogatory and accusatory comments” (see PIE Publication & Integrity Ethics)
While some necessary suggestions and corrections should be made, the reviewers should not rewrite the paper.
The submitted manuscript should be evaluated considering its major aspects:
- Suitability for Modern Finance. Overall, is the paper a valuable contribution to the journal Modern Finance? Does the paper consider an issue important to the field of finance? Is the paper's idea original? Does it offer an important contribution to the field? Is the study relevant to an international audience? Is the paper's content acceptable (urgent issues discussed, up-to-date information provided?
- Content evaluation.Does the paper's title accurately reflect the content and the purpose of the article? Does the abstract contain all the essential elements, including the justification of the topic, the aim of the study, the methodology, and main results and conclusions? Is the abstract concise and relevant (80-150 words)? Is the methodology clearly presented? Does the paper achieve its stated goal? Is the paper relevant to the practice? How valuable are its theoretical and empirical contributions? Is the article's message clear?
- Text evaluation.Is the paper technically well-organized? Does it include the proper elements, such as abstract, introduction, methods, results, conclusions, and references? Does the article properly use visuals, such as tables, graphs, and diagrams? Is the paper free from grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors? Is the review sufficiently broad? Are the references up-to-date?
The review should include a clear recommendation regarding the paper. The recommendation should fall within one of the following categories:
- Accept without revision
- Revise – either major or minor.
If the reviewer recommends revisions or rejections, they should give the author a sound and clear explanation of their view.
Reviewers should assure that if they accept a manuscript for evaluation, they have sufficient time to revise it. Hence, referees should check and prepare the reports in a timely manner.