Peer-Review Policy & Process

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JTHSM peer-review policy is committed to maintaining the highest standards of publication ethics and to supporting ethical research practices. The journal editors follow the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors and to refer reviewers to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Allegations of misconduct are investigated in accordance with the COPE Best Practice Guidelines as far as is practicable.

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Peer-review process adopted by JTHSM:

Each submission to JTHSM (including Full Papers, Case Studies and Research Notes, but excluding Book Reviews) is first reviewed for completeness by the journal’s Secretariat, and only then is allocated to one of the two Associate Editors who will assess it and subsequently suggest to the Editor-in-Chief whether it is suitable for peer review; final decision on suitability for peer review has to be taken unanimously by both the Associate Editor assigned to the manuscript and the Editor-in-Chief. If a manuscript is considered suitable for peer review, then it is subsequently assigned to 3 anonymous international reviewers (the double-blind peer review process is strictly followed; identities of neither authors nor peer reviewers are disclosed).

Peer review reports are in English, are submitted through the journal’s online submission and reviewing system, and provide constructive critical evaluations of the authors’ work, particularly in relation to the appropriateness of methods used, whether the results are accurate, and whether the conclusions are supported by the results. Editorial decisions are based on peer reviewer comments that meet these criteria rather than on recommendations made by short, superficial peer reviewer reports which do not provide a rationale for the recommendations.

Potential peer reviewers are asked to inform the Editor-in-Chief of any possible conflicts of interest before accepting an invitation to review a manuscript. Communications between Editors and peer reviewers contain confidential information and are not shared with third parties. 

The primary purpose of peer review – as employed by JTHSM – is providing the Editors with the information needed to reach a fair, evidence-based decision that adheres to the journal’s editorial criteria. Review reports are also expected to help authors revise their paper such that it may be accepted for publication. Reports accompanied by a recommendation to reject the paper are expected to explain in details the major weaknesses of the research; this will help the authors prepare their manuscript for submission to a different journal. 

Peer reviewers used by JTHSM are requested to adhere to the principles of COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer-reviewers.

Peer reviewers are requested by the Editor-in-Chief to assess papers exclusively against JTHSM’s criteria for publication. The following conventions should be respected for effectively administering JTHSM’s double-blind peer review process:

  • Reviewers should review the peer review policy of JTHSM before accepting their reviewer role.
  • Reviews should be conducted objectively.
  • Personal criticism of the author(s) is inappropriate, as are defamatory/libelous remarks. 
  • Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments and references. 
  • Reviewers should declare any potential competing interests.
  • Reviewers should decline to review manuscripts with which they believe they have a competing interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
  • Reviewers should respect the confidentiality of material supplied to them and not discuss unpublished manuscripts with colleagues or use the information in their own work.
  • Any reviewer who wants to pass a peer review invitation onto a colleague must contact the journal in the first instance.

Where an Editor is on the author list or has any other competing interest regarding a specific manuscript, another member of the Editorial Board will be assigned to oversee peer review. Editors will consider the peer-reviewed reports when making a decision, but are not bound by the opinions or recommendations therein. A concern raised by a single peer reviewer or the Editor himself may result in the manuscript being rejected. Authors receive peer review reports with the editorial decision on their manuscript.

Book Reviews published in JTHSM are not peer reviewed articles. Each manuscript submitted to JTHSM as a Book Review is first checked for completeness by the journal’s Secretariat, and only then is allocated to the Book Reviews Editor who will assess it. Subsequently, the Book Reviews Editor may send comments to the author(s) of the Book Review. When satisfied by author(s) response, the Book Reviews Editor will suggest to the Editor-in-Chief that the manuscript is suitable for publication; final decision on suitability for publication has to be taken unanimously by both the Book Reviews Editor and the Editor-in-Chief.

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Principles to which JTHSM peer reviewers should adhere:

All JTHSM reviewers are requested to follow the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. In addition, peer reviewers should:

  • only agree to review manuscripts for which they have the subject expertise required to carry out a proper assessment and which they can assess in a timely manner;
  • respect the confidentiality of peer review and not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer-review process, beyond those that are released by the journal;
  • not 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;
  • declare all potential conflicting interests, seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest;
  • not allow their reviews to be influenced by the origins of a manuscript, by the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, or by commercial considerations;
  • be objective and constructive in their reviews, refraining from being hostile or inflammatory and from making libellous or derogatory personal comments;
  • acknowledge that peer review is largely a reciprocal endeavour and undertake to carry out their fair share of reviewing and in a timely manner;
  • provide JTHSM with personal and professional information that is accurate and a true representation of their expertise
  • recognize that impersonation of another individual during the review process is considered serious misconduct.

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Cases of suspected misconduct

Allegations of misconduct or cases of suspected misconduct are investigated in accordance with the COPE Best Practice Guidelines as far as is practicable.