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Reviewing Manuscripts

The International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education employs a Web-based submission and review system called Manuscript Central. Manuscript Central offers online help, but you can contact Steve Langendorfer, IJARE editor, ijare@bgsu.edu, 419-372-0221 if you encounter unresolved questions.

As manuscripts are submitted, the editor does a quick review of each to determine whether it is within the scope of the journal. Once we have determined that the article is of relevance to the journal, the appropriate number of reviewers (usually two) will be selected. Manuscript Central tracks the status of all manuscripts automatically and sends automated e-mails periodically to authors, reviewers, and the editor.

The following are characteristics of a good reviewer and represent reasons for which you have been requested to perform a review:

  • You have knowledge of the topic, the discipline, or the methodology
  • You have the time to devote to a thorough review
  • You provide timely and specific suggestions to authors, thus helping to advance the field
  • You are not timid or afraid to offer constructive critiques
  • You are positive, tactful, and professional in demeanor

David Pyne, the editor of another HK journal, came up with the following set of guidelines for reviewers that reviewers might find useful. Feel free to copy these guidelines for your use in reviewing.

Guidelines for Reviewers

General Guideline Questions

  1. Does the paper report important findings that add to the body of scientific knowledge or have useful practical application in aquatics?
  2. Have the main findings or applications not been published previously?
  3. Is the purpose of the study stated clearly and an adequate justification for the study provided?
  4. Is the experimental design sound and appropriate for the stated purpose of the study?
  5. Are the methods and analysis appropriate and sufficiently clear to allow replication by other scientists?
  6. Are the conclusions justified and logically consistent with the purpose and hypotheses?
  7. Are the practical applications of educational professional articles clear and concise?
  8. Are the references to existing studies pertinent, complete, and accurate?


  1. Is the paper concise, consistent in format, and clearly written? Are the grammar, expression, and use of English up to an acceptable standard?
  2. Are all the figures and tables relevant? Is there unnecessary duplication of results between figures, tables, and the text?
  3. Are the figures and tables properly prepared in accordance with the instructions for authors?
  4. Do the title and abstract accurately reflect the contents and findings of the study?
  5. Is the written text clear, concise, and unambiguous? Without rewriting the manuscript or imposing your own style, identify text that is verbose, ambiguous, or unclear. Identify text that should be expanded or condensed by specific reference to sentences and paragraph as appropriate.

Statistical Considerations

  1. Have the authors clearly identified the experimental design and statistical methods?
  2. Are there any concerns with sampling bias or measurement bias?
  3. Have the authors quantified measurement imprecision with details on the typical or technical error of measurement?
  4. Has the sample variability been reported with standard deviation and uncertainty (or precision) of estimates indicated using confidence intervals?
  5. Have magnitudes of effects been reported and interpreted with established criteria such as statistical power? Reporting the clinical or practical significance in sport and aquatic settings will help readers determine the real-world value or application of the main findings.
  6. Are precise p values shown? Indirect indications such as p < .05 or p = NS make it difficult for other researchers undertaking meta-analyses. Results should be reported so the number of digits is scientifically relevant.
  7. Is the use of standard and nonstandard statistical terms, abbreviations, and symbols defined appropriately, and are the details of computer software packages cited?
  8. Is there any notion of a reporting bias where underpowered studies or statistically insignificant results have been neglected or underemphasized? These results might have some practical (clinical) importance and could be useful for generating research questions and for researchers conducting meta-analyses.

Ethical Considerations

  1. The manuscript under review is a confidential document that should not be discussed with or shown to others without the permission of the editor.
  2. In the rare situation that you discover a potential conflict of interest in relation to the authors or content of the manuscript, contact the editor, Steve Langendorfer, as soon as possible.
  3. Is there any evidence of plagiarism, duplicate submission to another journal, or excessive fragmentation of results to achieve multiple publications of manuscripts? Please contact the editor if you have any ethical concerns in this regard.
  4. Is there any suggestion of unethical practices with the experimental procedures involving the care, treatment, and management of human studies, including lack of IRB approval?
  5. Given that the authors will carefully read your comments, we request that you avoid harsh, abrasive, or patronizing statements that might offend. Your comments and assessments should be logical, systematic, and written in moderate language. Comments specifically for the editor can be written in more direct language. Reviewers should provide polite and constructive comments on the manuscript.
  6. Please give more specific rather than general comments. Comments and recommendations should be helpful for both the authors and the editor. Provide specific recommendations on how the manuscript could be improved, and where necessary refer to appropriate studies in the literature. Even if you recommend that the manuscript be rejected, it is still appropriate to provide recommendations on how it could be improved.
  7. Your anonymity as a reviewer will be preserved, and you are asked not to identify yourself to the authors without the permission of the editor. You can elect to be identified as the reviewer when your comments are posted online at Manuscript Central.
  8. Please submit your reviewer’s report within the specified time limit set by the IJARE editor. If your circumstances change and you cannot complete the review in time, please contact the editor as soon as possible.

Return of Reviewer’s Comments

  1. Use Manuscript Central to give your final recommendation, and complete all check boxes to rate various aspects of the submitted manuscript.
  2. Use Manuscript Central to provide brief confidential summary comments to the editor.
  3. Use Manuscript Central to provide general comments for the both authors and editor.
  4. For specific comments, do one of the following:
    • Write out in full identifying the page, paragraph, and line number together with your comment in the appropriate box in Manuscript Central.
    • Use Microsoft Word Track Changes directly on the manuscript, and then upload this as an attached file (if you choose this option you should remove any identifying user information in MS Word to maintain anonymity).