Reviewer guideline

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  • Reviewer guideline
  • Enacted October 1, 2020

The Korean Journal of Ophthalmology (hereafter KJO) Review aims to maximize manuscript quality while ensuring the rights of authors to submit their work for a rigorous, constructive and transparent review process.

Peer review is handled by active researchers and scholars, carefully appointed by our Editorial Boards according to strict criteria of excellence, and who certify the accuracy and validity of research.

We believe peer review must be centered on objective criteria for the validity and quality of the work presented. At the same time, it should be rigorous, fair, constructive, accountable and transparent for everyone involved. Last, but not least, peer review needs to be efficient.

We continuously innovate to provide cutting-edge tools and services for an efficient peer review. All submissions, including those that are part of themed Research Topic article collections, undergo the same rigorous review process.

KJO upholds strict quality standards for manuscripts and the peer-review process through clear criteria. Manuscripts that pass these criteria are accepted, those that do not pass the criteria are rejected. KJO does not reject manuscripts based on their perceived potential impact, nor does it set a rejection rate – formal or informal. Instead, we judge the value and validity of presented work through rigorous quality checks and empower our Editorial Boards to take charge of content decisions. Handling section Editors and reviewers can recommend rejection at any time; Editors and Chief Editors make acceptance and rejection decisions. This model ensures rigorous peer review, rapid decisions and the publication of high-quality research.

What is expected of everyone involved?

1. Authors must submit a manuscript that has significant scholarly value and falls within the scope of the journal. They must comply with all editorial and ethical policies and take all reviewer and editor comments into consideration.

2. Reviewers are subject experts and evaluate manuscripts by using the quality assessment tool and designated review questionnaire that prioritize scientific quality, rigor and validity. They evaluate the methodology of a study for solidity and rigor, ensure the research provides valid conclusions, and is supported by sufficient data.

3. Editors are subject experts and assess the peer-review process and manuscripts meticulously. They only endorse publication if the reviewers validate the contents of a manuscript.

4. Chief Editors, handling Editors, reviewers and authors are guided and supported by the KJO Peer Review Team, a dedicated team that upholds and ensures high quality standards for manuscripts and the peer review itself, certifying the quality, scientific rigour and validity of research articles and promoting collaboration among authors, reviewers and editors.

Peer Review Quality Standards

The Editors and Reviewers ensures a high quality, rigorous and efficient peer-review process for all manuscripts submitted to KJO. KJO establishes and upholds the peer-review guidelines for editors, reviewers and authors, which incorporate the best practices and editorial policies.

KJO Editors and Reviewers is responsible for upholding the following quality standards:

Editors and reviewers are experts in the subject of the manuscript, with necessary expertise to evaluate the research by having established a sufficient research work or publication record on the same or related research area;

Editors and reviewers have no relationship to the authors and/or research that would affect the objectivity of the peer-review process;

In case the peer review is ongoing, and it is discovered that editors or reviewers do not have the relevant expertise or have a conflict-of-interest, they can be revoked and replaced during review by the Peer Review Team and/or the editor;

Review reports are verified to ensure they provide a constructive assessment of the manuscripts’ validity and quality to the authors;

Final editorial checks to verify that the peer-review process adhered to the quality standards, that the reviewers’ and editor’s concerns have been addressed and that the manuscript is ready for publication;

Only high-quality manuscripts that pass our acceptance criteria are published.

In accepting a peer-review assignment with KJO, editors and reviewers agree to:

  • • Have the necessary expertise to judge the manuscript’s quality, rigour and validity;
  • • Submit thorough, high-quality review reports;
  • • Behave in a professional, ethical way and be constructive during interactions with the editors, authors and editorial team.

Pillars of Peer Review

The KJO Review provides and guarantees:

Collaborative Review

Our Collaborative Review Forum unites authors, reviewers and the handling Editor(called the Associate Editor for editorial board members) – and if need be the Specialty Chief Editor – in a direct online dialogue, enabling quick iterations and facilitating consensus. Editors and reviewers work with the authors to improve their manuscript.

Objective Review

KJO promotes a strict separation between review and evaluation. KJO editors and reviewers have the mandate to focus on objective criteria evaluating the quality, rigour and validity of the study and to ensure that the results are valid, the analysis is correct, and the quality high. We publish all papers assessed to be valid and of good quality. Reviewers may recommend rejection based upon objective errors and the criteria for rejection. Judgments regarding the importance of a paper can be made through open post-publication reviews. We also use objective impact metrics – reflecting the opinion of the entire community – to spotlight outstanding discoveries.

Rigorous Review

The review must focus solely on the quality of both the research and the manuscript, and must aim at providing constructive comments to bring the final paper to its best quality. This allows fair, rapid, comprehensive and comparable assessment of research. The evaluation of the research will be done successively by means of the article-level impact metrics. Moreover, KJO provides authors with the highest quality review service by assigning only the top researchers to Editorial Boards.

Transparent Review

To guarantee the most rigorous and objective reviews, the identities of reviewers remain anonymous during the review period.

As a result of this process, reviews are conducted constructively, with editors and reviewers holding a level of accountability and responsibility for the paper by providing rigorous feedback that delivers the highest possible quality publication. Please also note that, as KJO operates a Double-blind peer review process, the authors’ identities are unknown to the reviewers.

Independent Review

During the Independent Review phase, the reviewers assess the manuscript independently from each other and from the authors, according to a standardized review guideline.

Post-Submission Steps

Once a manuscript is submitted, the KJO Editorial Office conducts a pre-screening for validation of research integrity and quality standards. If a manuscript meets KJO quality criteria, an Editor from the relevant specialty section is invited to handle the manuscript’s peer-review process. After a preliminary content check, the editor decides whether to send the manuscript for review or to recommend it for immediate rejection to the Chief Editor.

In the latter case, the Chief Editor may confirm the handling Editor’s recommendation of immediate rejection due to the following reasons:

  • • Objective errors in the methods, applications, or interpretations were identified in the manuscript that prevent further consideration
  • • Ethical issues were identified in the manuscript that prevent further review or publication
  • • The content of this manuscript does not meet the standards of rigor required by the journal to be considered for publication (see full rejection criteria above)

The Chief Editor may, nevertheless, override the handling Editor's recommendation and decide that the manuscript deserves being reviewed before a final decision is made. In this case he/she will assign the manuscript to a new handling Editor for another assessment.

The handling Editor invites experts to review the manuscript; most article types require at least two reviewers to complete a review. These reviewers can either be invited from the KJO Board of Reviewerse or appropriately recruited among experts in the field.

Independent Review Phase

The reviewers are asked to submit the standardized KJO Independent Review Report 15 days after accepting the assignment. The handling Editor is automatically notified as soon as each of the Independent Review Report is submitted.

Once all reviewers have submitted the Independent Review Report, the Editor is responsible for activating the next phase to release the review reports to the authors. If the Editor would like to recommend rejection or revision during the Independent Review phase, they can do so by activating the Review phase with major concerns, providing the authors with the reports and an opportunity for rebuttal during a defined timeframe.

During this phase, a manuscript may be rejected at any point for the following reasons:

  • • Objective errors in the methods, applications, or interpretations were identified in this manuscript that prevent further consideration;
  • • Ethical issues were identified in this manuscript that prevent further review or publication;
  • • The content of this manuscript does not meet the standards of rigor required by the journal to be considered for publication;
  • • The manuscript could not be sufficiently revised by the authors to address the concerns raised by the reviewers or editor during the review process;

Other reasons that meet the rejection criteria.

The review is complete only once all reviewer and editor comments have been satisfactorily addressed by the authors.

Manuscript Acceptance

If the reviewers endorse the publication of the manuscript in its current form, they must finalize their Review Reports, which automatically notifies the handling Editor. For acceptance to be considered, the manuscript must:

  • • Be VALID as defined in the acceptance criteria
  • • Have an Editor and the minimum number of independent reviewers assigned for the article type
  • • Be endorsed by a majority of the assigned, non-withdrawn reviewers

The Editor can then either accept the final version of the manuscript or request further changes as necessary, typically within a few days. Acceptance of a manuscript can be decided by the handling Editor and does not require the approval of the Specialty Chief Editor.

Acceptance by the handling Editor moves the article into the Final Validation phase, including whether the review was performed adequately. Should the manuscript fail the final checks, it can either be put back into review to address the identified issue(s) or else the provisional acceptance decision can be overridden and the manuscript will be rejected at this stage without publication.

Manuscript Rejection

If the minimum required number of reviewers to endorse the manuscript is not met (usually two, and must be a majority), then the handling Editor must recommend to the Chief Editor that the manuscript be rejected for publication. The final rejection decision is usually made by the Chief Editor but can also be made by the Associate Editor based on the rejection criteria.

Rejection Criteria

A submission may be rejected at any stage during initial validation, peer review or final validation for the following reasons:

  • • The manuscript does not have a valid research question or hypothesis
  • • There are clear objective errors in the methodology of the study design, data collection or analysis
  • • The language and presentation of the manuscript is not of sufficient quality for a rigorous and efficient peer review to take place
  • • The study violates our ethical policies by not complying with privacy protection guidelines, ethical review board approval guidelines and internationally recognized standards for research involving humans or animals
  • • The authors have not adhered to our authorship guidelines or have fabricated, falsified data or manipulated images and figures in a deceitful manner
  • • The references are clearly biased (geographical, self-citation, school of thought) and do not reflect the current status of knowledge in the field
  • • Based on biased or faulty analyses, the study’s conclusions are misleading and could even pose a public health threat
  • • The study investigates a pseudoscientific research question

Korean Journal of
Ophthalmology

Print ISSN: 1011-8942
Online ISSN: 2092-9382



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