Instructions to Referees

Principles of peer review

Peer review is one of the most critical elements for publication of scientific works, ensuring the excellence of the researches published by Research on Biomedical Engineering (RBE).

The submitted manuscript is always considered a confidential document. Therefore, no one is allowed to share the manuscript without the explicit permission of the Editor, who should ask for the permission of the authors, if necessary.

For an in-depth review, at least two referees are consulted and their identity will not be disclosed. The reviewers´ comments and recommendations should be shared only with the authors, and possibly with other reviewers and the Editorial Board of RBE.

Before you begin the review, please consider:

  • Are you qualified to evaluate the article? If not, please inform the Editor as soon as possible.
  • Can you return the evaluation by the deadline established by the Editor? If not, please inform the Editor as soon as possible.
  • Are there any conflicts of interest involved in reviewing the manuscript? For instance: is it from a colleague or have you ever co-authored other papers with one of the authors? Those aspects will not necessarily rule out a reviewer, however, you should let the Editor know as soon as possible.

Reviewing the manuscript

Reviewing is a confidential process. Hence the manuscript cannot be disclosed or presented to others. If, by any chance, you consider the necessity of knowing the opinion of others, in order to help you with the review, get in touch with the Editor. Also, you should not contact the authors – this is restricted to the Editorial board.

The evaluation of the manuscript must be made against a number of guidelines, including, but not limited to:

  • Originality: Does the article contribute to knowledge in the field? Does it add to the canon of knowledge? Have the results reported in the article been published elsewhere?
  • Relevance: Is it sufficiently novel and interesting to warrant publication? Answers an important research question?
  • Organization and structure: Does the manuscript adhere to the RBE´s guidelines? Is it cleared laid out?
  • Language: Is it presented in an intelligible fashion? Is the language clear and unambiguous?
  • Abstract: Does it reflect the work exposed in the main text?
  • Problem definition: Does it have enough information (specially the introduction) regarding the problem under investigation? What are the main claims?
  • Methods: Does the manuscript contain enough information about the experiments? Is there enough information so that the work can be reproduced? Are the methods explained with the necessary scientific rigor, ensuring that the results are meaningful and defensible?
  • Results: Do the authors thoroughly explain the results and the discoveries obtained from their experiments? Are the statistical analyses correct? Does the discussion carry sufficient debate and is supported by other works (if possible)? Does the conclusion summarize the main scientific contributions of the work?
  • References: Are they appropriate and sufficient to support the discussion and to position the research against the state of the art?

Furthermore, the revision must observe:

  • Is there enough information to support the discussion (especially if the work is based on previous researches)? Is there any important information, or references to key works, that have been omitted?
  • Are the figures and tables clear, legible and consistent (scales, measures, etc.)?
  • Ethical aspects:
    • Plagiarism: Although it is not a primary purpose of peer review to detect plagiarism, whenever you suspect that the article contains substantial parts of other works, please get in touch with the Editor, providing as much detail as possible.
    • Fraud: If you suspect that the results of the paper are not entirely true, please let the Editor know, providing as much detail as possible.
    • Researches involving humans or animals: Is there an approved protocol of an accredited Ethics Committee? Information about people involved in the research (volunteers/patients) are kept confidential or are been published with their explicit permission?

Sending you evaluation to the Editor
Upon completing your evaluation, please write a report with your comments to the authors and to the Editor – to do so, you must access the Electronic Management System of the journal and use the appropriate forms in the “Reviewer Center”.

Your report should include all those relevant aspects described above. Try to support your claims and whenever possible, make it clear if the comments reflect just a personal opinion or are based on other works published in the literature.

Also, remember that reviews should be constructive and courteous and the reviewer should respect the intellectual independence of the author. Reviewers should avoid personal comments - RBE reserves the right to edit out comments that may hinder constructive discussion of manuscripts.

Once you have finished the report, conclude the evaluation by selecting one of the following “Recommendations”:

  • The manuscript can be accepted as is.
  • The manuscript can be accepted after minor modifications – no need for further review.
  • The manuscript may be accepted after major modifications – it needs further review.
  • The manuscript should be framed as a Technical Communication.
  • The manuscript should be rejected.
  • The manuscript is more suitable for publication elsewhere.

Acceptance (1) indicates that the manuscript represents an important scientific contribution. In this sense, theoretical, experimental or clinical works are welcomed. Technical communications, tutorials or critical reviews can also be accepted, providing they reflect the 'state of the art' in relevant topics to the area.

Acceptance for publication after small modifications without further review (2) applies to those cases in which minor adjustments, indicated in the review (correction of graphical errors, grammar mistakes, duplication of information or omission of references), could improve the text, but do not interfere with the central issues and do not involve omissions of text or quotes that, when incorporated, would lead to further discussion.

Possible acceptance after major modifications and subjected to further review (3) should be an option when there are suggestions for reducing the text, inclusion of experimental or theoretical results or other items relevant to answer important questions or supplement the discussion. Also, it must be included in this category, those manuscripts with significant errors that can be corrected, or those with serious difficulties of understanding and inadequate presentation of information about materials, methods or mathematical formulations.

If the work is not set up as a full article, in accordance with the aspects discussed above, but it could allow readers to benefit from the ingenuity and creativity of his colleagues, the reviewer may suggest reducing it to a "Technical Communication" (4).

Recommendation for rejecting the article (5) applies in cases of poor quality. Although involving some subjectivity, this decision must be justified by claims such as: duplication of work already published; when the reviewer finds a theoretical or analytical mistake that invalidate the results and conclusions presented; contradictory results in the work itself or in relation to other issues, without presenting a thorough discussion about the discrepancies; lack of sufficient amount of new information in comparison to recently published articles; etc.

Rejection should be avoided when there are no capital flaws that can be pointed or solely due to differences of opinion in controversial fields such as choosing a model or a particular method for processing data.

Relevant articles, but without any affinity with Biomedical Engineering, could be classified as option (6) – recommending publication elsewhere.




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