We provide some guidelines on how to write constructive criticism for Computational science of nature.
The peer review process is undoubtedly an important step in scientific publishing to assess the quality and validity of manuscripts before publication. When evaluating an article, several factors come into play and should be thoroughly analyzed by reviewers to determine whether the reported research is sound and meets the journal’s publication criteria. As publishers, we strive to ensure that the peer review process is as thorough and fair as possible, which also depends on the outstanding service the reviewers provide to us. We would therefore like to offer some suggestions on how to write a constructive and unbiased review for Computational science of nature.
When you receive an exam invitation from us, please read it carefully to understand what the exam entails. Our articles are often multidisciplinary and we tend to invite experts from different backgrounds to comment on different aspects of the article; we could make a note about it in the invitation letter. If you agree to review for us, you also agree to participate in additional review cycles of the same manuscript, as well as to be contacted by us with additional questions about your report. Please consider carefully whether you would be able to submit a review in a timely manner: please let us know of any unforeseen delays or if you find yourself unable to submit a report at any time during the review process. exam. Ultimately, this will help us keep authors informed and take all necessary steps to ensure we can make a timely decision on the document. Finally, although we carefully select our reviewers, there may be conflicts of interest between the potential reviewer and the authors that are not apparent to us: we ask that you always inform us of any factors that may affect your impartiality. when evaluating a research study. . If you are unable to review for us, we appreciate suggestions from other experts in the field who could serve as reviewers given their expertise.
We should note that the review process is confidential, which means reviewers should not share information about the manuscript under review with others. However, we encourage PIs to involve members of their research laboratory in the review process. In this case, we ask that the names of these people be communicated to us so that they can also be duly credited for the examination.
When writing a review for Computational science of nature, there are different aspects that are of particular interest to us. Above all, we want to know if the research is technically valid and robust: if there are potential technical flaws in the methodology, we would certainly appreciate a detailed description of these. The manuscript should also reference previous literature appropriately; if not, it would be important to point out missing related works that the authors should consider. Comments on the importance and significance of the results for the research community are also essential: our readership being very wide, we would like to understand if the conclusions of the study can have a broad and practical impact in the field. We welcome suggestions for additional experiments or data that might help strengthen the paper in this direction. In addition, we would like to know if the manuscript presents enough evidence for the assertions made by the authors, and if the text is clear and accessible to a wide audience. Comments on language issues, such as spelling or grammatical errors, are less critical to us – as our articles are corrected if accepted for publication – unless such errors impede understanding of the presented research.
Because we are a computational journal, we are also interested in comments on the level of methodological novelty (in terms of computational and/or mathematical methods) that the manuscript brings to the field. We are primarily interested in new methodological developments, whether the study introduces a new method or reorients/applies existing methods. Additionally, data and code are essential artifacts associated with our manuscripts: we ask all reviewers to comment on the quality and validity of the data used in the study, and we also ask at least one reviewer to check in the extent to which the code is reusable and the research is reproducible through a code peer review process.
When writing the review, we would appreciate feedback on whether there are parts of the manuscript that you feel you cannot fully assess given your expertise, to help us ensure that the review process covers all technical aspects of the document. Additionally, it goes without saying that a review should provide constructive feedback in a respectful tone: be polite and avoid any comments or language that could be perceived as demeaning or offensive.
Ultimately, the peer review process represents a conversation between reviewers and authors to improve the quality of the article, and those conversations should be as clear as possible. At times, we may feel that reviewer comments require further clarification. In these cases, we will contact our reviewers with additional questions, to help us – and more importantly, the authors – better understand the issues raised in the review reports. Similarly, if we feel that the authors have not provided enough detail in their response to reviewers’ comments, we will ask them for more clarification.
It should be noted that our journal implements a few peer review initiatives to recognize and celebrate the essential role that reviewers play in the scientific world. For example, Computational science of nature supports transparent peer review, where authors have the opportunity to publish review reports, author rebuttals, and editorial decision letters upon publication of their manuscript. The goal of transparent peer review is to make our editorial decision-making process open, in addition to providing greater visibility for the incredible work that you, the reviewers, do for the journal. If you agree to edit for us, you also agree to the publication of your comments made to the authors. Unless you sign the report with your name in these comments, your anonymity is maintained. Additionally, we also support reviewer recognition, where you can choose to add your name, in recognition of your contribution, to the final published article.
More detailed guidelines for reviewers can be found on our website, and the guidelines we use to assess articles may also be a useful resource when conducting your review. But of course, we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions throughout this process. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our reviewers, who help us ensure that the quality of our publications meets the highest standards.
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Nat Comput Sci (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43588-022-00227-y