Reviewers' instructions

Reviewers must make themselves aware of all the relevant information on this website and the Editorial Manager website, especially the Editorial Instructions, Publication Ethics, Publication Malpractice Statement and the Tutorial for Reviewers. 

Reviews should be conducted timely, professionally and objectively, without any criticism of the authors. Reviewers should not have any major conflicts of interest in relation to any paper that they review. Conflict of interest may be financial, academic, competitive, collaborative, related to religious or political beliefs, or by any relationship or connection with any of the authors, companies or institutions related to the paper. In case of any doubt, reviewers should declare their possible conflicts of interest to the editor in charge of the manuscript. 

Reviewers will respect the confidentiality of the content of the paper and its data. Reviewers will not discuss the content with third parties. They must report ethical or other concerns to the editor. 

Please provide a general recommendation on the value of this paper for publication to the editors. Please let us know what you formally recommend: accept, minor revisions, major revisions, revision and re-review, or rejection. You may want to comment on format, scientific and clinical relevance, actuality, style, clarity and coherence of presentation, originality of methods and results, and the quality of the data and the language. 

Reviewers will assess ethical issues such as previous publications of the presented research, plagiarisation of other publications, ethical approval, informed consent, fabrication or manipulation of data or data analyses, competing interests. Minor concerns or the lack of clarifications about such issues may be addressed within the review and editorial processes. 

Major ethical concerns, ghost and honour authorships will lead to the immediate rejection of the paper. 

Please provide a numbered list of comments, critiques, proposals and recommendations for the authors helping them to improve the paper, if possible. Sorting by subheadings, i.e. title, abstract, introduction, etc. is helpful. The authors are expected to answer your comments and indicate the appropriate changes, point by point. 

Please indicate if you would like to add a short comment (max. 200 word) to the paper. This would be published with your name and affiliations below the paper. 

The performance of Reviewers is subject to assessment by the Editor-in-Chief. For more information, please see the Guide for Authors' section.