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This short glossary covers some terms used in the peer review process.
A professional writer/editor usually employed by the authors’ institution to help prepare publications and grant applications. More common in the US than in Europe.
A set of guidelines for reporting the results of randomised controlled trials.
The author whose full contact details appear on a publication and who is the point of contact with the journal for handling reviewers’ comments, proofs, etc.
The person in overall charge who makes final decisions about acceptance, policy, etc. Larger journals may employ several editors who handle papers and also technical editors (or sub-editors).
The BMJ editorial board (named after a committee that decided which paintings should hang in an exhibition)
Style imposed by a journal on anything to be published. It will include things such as the typeface of headings, the format of references, the type of abstract used, conventions for abbreviations, etc.
HyperText Mark-up Language: a computer code used to create electronic journals and web pages
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors—a group of journal editors who prepared the Uniform Requirements for Submissions to Biomedical Journals and who issue occasional statements about aspects of publication such as authorship and conflicting interests. Also known as the Vancouver Group.
Making changes to grammar, spelling, etc, without changing the overall structure of a piece of writing
Proofs in the form that the final pages will appear (also known as galley proofs).
A journal that charges a fee for publication, either in the form of a page charge or a requirement to buy a certain number of reprints.
The process by which submissions to a journal (editorial peer review) or grant giving body (grant application peer review) are assessed critically by the authors’ peers, namely subject matter experts, prior to a decision being taken.
POST-PUBLICATIONS PEER REVIEW
The process by which articles published in a journal are commented on critically by the authors’ peers, namely subject matter experts. This form of peer review can take the form of letters to editor or formal comments (as in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews).
A hand written document, but often used to refer to any unpublished submission. More correctly these are usually referred to as typescripts.
The process of removing the authors’ details from a paper before it is sent to reviewers and of removing the reviewers’ identity from any comments sent to authors. The opposite of open review. Sometimes called blinding.
Peer review in which the author knows the identity of the reviewer and vice versa.
Somebody who assesses work for scientific content and presentation and offers opinions about the originality, usefulness, ethical and methodological soundness, and validity of the study and the accuracy and clarity of the reporting. Also known as a Referee.
SUB-EDITOR OR TECHNICAL EDITOR
Somebody who puts accepted papers into the journal’s house style, edits the language, and checks for completeness and consistency.
Conflicts of interest: Tom Jefferson co-edited the book “Peer review in health sciences” and co-authored the book “How to survive peer review” and the Christmas board game “Get Peered”.