The peer-review process is described in an article linked to from the every JMIR journals' homepage - click on the Peer-Review Process link in the footer, e.g. Peer-Review Process for JMIR.
Generally, when we receive a manuscript, the Managing Editor and/or Assistant Editor and/or the Section Editor will first decide whether the manuscript meets the formal criteria specified in the Instructions for Authors and whether it fits within the scope of the journal. When in doubt, the editor will consult other members of the Editorial Board. Manuscripts are then assigned to a section editor, who sends it to 2-4 external experts for peer review. Authors are required to suggest at least 2 peer-reviewers (who do not have an conflict of interest) during the submission process. JMIR reviewers will not stay anonymous their names will be revealed and stated below the article in the event that the manuscript will be published. Authors and reviewers should not directly contact each other to enter into disputes on manuscripts or reviews.
In addition to editor-selected reviewers, authors can opt-in into open peer-review, where the abstract is made public and any user can sign up to review a paper (see What is open peer-review?). It will then appear on our Preprint server under Latest Submissions Open for Peer Review (Preprints) while the paper is under review (it will be deleted afterwards).
Reviewers use a structured form to assess a submission (see How does the JMIR peer-review form look like?).
After peer-review, the editor makes a decision based on reviewer recommendation and his/her own assessment, which can be any of the following:
- A-accept (almost never after the first review round)
- B-minor revisions required (no further formal external peer-review round required, editor makes decision)
- C-revise & rereview
- D-major revisions & rereview
Any of these decisions can be combined with a recommendation (or decision) to transfer the manuscript to another journal (see Why has my article been transferred to another journal (or a transfer has been suggested), and what are my options?).
Decision B, C or D means that the author is supposed to respond to the reviewer comments and upload a revision. See How do I respond to reviewer comments and upload a revised manuscript?
The manuscript may then go into another round of external (if the previous decision was C/D) or internal (if the previous editorial decision was B) peer-review, also called round 2 (3, 4, ...) re-review (see What happens after I submitted a revised version and my responses to reviewer comments?). Reviewers who have previously rated the manuscript as A (accept) or B (minor revisions) will not see the revision again as they already found it acceptable. Previous reviewers who rated the manuscript as C, D or E will be invited to re-review the revision.
It is JMIR policy to avoid assigning new reviewers in round 2 (3, 4, ...) as we do not think it is fair to authors to present an entirely new perspective and list of comments beyond what reviewers pointed out in the first round. If reviewers from the previous round are not available (no response or decline to re-review) then it is the task of the editor to evaluate if the comments have been addressed satisfactorily.
It is also JMIR policy that an editorial decision B is usually followed by an editorial decision A (accept), after all minor comments are addressed by the authors. In some cases however the manuscript may be transferred to another journal even after a decision B (see Why has my article been transferred to another journal (or a transfer has been suggested), and what are my options?).
Having said that, occasionally new requirements or new questions may arise which may lead to new comments or (rarely) necessitate the assignment of a new reviewer.
- I am submitting a paper and I am asked to suggest peer-reviewers, but don't know who to suggest. Can I bypass this step?
- What happens after I submitted a revised version and my responses to reviewer comments?.
- How does the JMIR peer-review form look like?
For editors (login to Zendesk required):
- (for editors) My previous decision was C or D, after a revised version was submitted, what do I do?
- (for editors) My previous decision was B, after a revised version was submitted, what do I do?
- (for editors) Does the JMIR system automatically send to reviewers the authors' responses to reviewers' comments?