More than 1500 people act as reviewers for the BJGP, including around 90 statistics experts. We operate an open peer review system, so authors and reviewers are known to each other. Submissions that pass initial screening are sent to up to three expert reviewers. We aim to give authors an initial decision as quickly as possible, and at present the median time from submission to an initial decision is 15 days. We accept fewer than one in five articles.
Role of BJGP reviewers
The Editor needs to know if the material is original, if the question asked is important, if the methods, results, and interpretation are reliable, and if the paper will be of interest to BJGP readers. Most authors appreciate informed, constructive criticism of their work.
Reviewers are the unsung heroes of quality control who provide a valuable service to authors. Authors may modify their results in the light of their comments, and it is not unusual for resubmissions to express gratitude for reviewers’ feedback. We now have a system to provide feedback to reviewers on the quality of their reviews. Reviewers are able to see the mean score of their reviews, and the Editor is happy to provide narrative feedback to reviewers on their reviews, up to twice a year, on request. The grading criteria are as follows:
- Grade A: An excellent review, providing a set of comments which are comprehensive, insightful, and clear, and are informed by a close familiarity with the topic and/or the methodology of the study. There is a clear recommendation on acceptance for publication, consistent with these comments, which are structured, immediately comprehensible to the authors, and which can act as a constructive guide to re-drafting and resubmission. There are often useful comments to the Editor about matters such as the novelty, importance and likely interest to readers of the BJGP. These top-class reviews often suggest additional literature and references for consideration by the authors.
- Grade B: A very good review, with useful guidance to the Editor, clear comments to the authors, and sufficient detail for re-submission and re-drafting, although perhaps with less subject or methodological expertise, less incisiveness, and perhaps also missing some key details. Like Grade A reviews, these reviews are likely to run to at least 40 or 50 lines of comment, providing sufficient material not only to help authors improve their manuscript but also to reflect on their methods, findings, and interpretation.
- Grade C: An adequate review which is still useful, but may not provide a comprehensive opinion or absolutely clear advice to the Editor. This may be problematic when a more detailed review has come to a different conclusion about quality or a different recommendation on acceptance, so that a further review may be needed to supplement the shortcomings in the grade C report.
- Grade D: An evaluation this is too brief and superficial to be useful and not only fails to identify significant shortcomings in the paper, but is too thin to be used as a basis for rejection. A very short review of this kind, recommending acceptance, can be equally unhelpful, particularly when it has to be weighed against a more guarded opinion in a more detailed report.
- Grade E: A review which is short, dismissive, or mildly offensive, with evidence of bias or personal animosity, and with no attempt to provide objective and constructive comments and with very weak academic/intellectual content.
Registering as a reviewer
Step one: register as a new author on the BJGP online submission system (or go to step three if you are already registered)
Step two: select ‘Home’ and then scroll down to select ‘Modify Profile/Password’
Step three: select ‘Yes’ for: ‘Will you consider being a Reviewer for this journal?’
- Information for reviewers from The Editor
- Information for reviewers on BJGP Allentrack
- COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers
Critical Reading for Primary Care
'Critical Reading for Primary Care: the BJGP/RCGP toolkit' provides guidance on evaluating the quality of research articles, and is freely available to download.