Information for Reviewers

Information for New and Current Reviewers


The Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health (EJRH) takes the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal as a role model in some areas of processing manuscripts before publication. Below is well detailed information our Journal has adopted by making necessary changes.

If you are interested in reviewing for Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health (EJRH) and are visiting this page for the first time--welcome! We hope you find this information useful. Please also be sure to send us your interest to serve our Journal as a reviewer, attaching your CV and specific topics of interest via email (*

If you are a current reviewer and looking for more information, we welcome you as well, and thank you for serving as a peer reviewer for Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health (EJRH). Reviewers play an essential but generally underappreciated role in scientific publishing. A skillful reviewer is the main assurance that new publications are reliable and based on sound empirical evidence, and so a journal is only as good as its reviewers.

The peer-review process has been used in scientific and medical publishing for almost two centuries. It is the process whereby the community of scientists vets and accepts or rejects the validity and importance of new manuscripts submitted for publication. Reviewers also commonly provide feedback that helps the authors improve their manuscripts. The peer-review process has much strength and some weaknesses.

Responsibilities of a Reviewer:

​The World Association of Medical Editors ( has educational materials online for editors, and these include a list of reviewer responsibilities:

  1. ​Evaluate manuscripts critically but constructively.
  2. Prepare detailed comments about the research and manuscript to help authors improve their work.
  3. Recommend to the editor whether the paper is suitable for the journal.
  4. Declare real or perceived conflicts of interests—this may be personal or professional—anything that would prevent the reviewer from providing an objective analysis of the work.
  5. Treat the manuscript as confidential (eg, reviewers may not contact others about the work).
  6. Avoid making derogatory comments to the authors.
  7. Refrain from using the work they review in any way in their own work.
  8. Avoid communicating directly with the authors.

List modified from: World Association of Medical Editors. Syllabus for prospective and newly appointed editors. Reviewers—their responsibilities, selection, and rewards. Available at: Retrieved June 21, 2017. 

We also strongly encourage all of the journal’s reviewers to read:

Transparent Peer Review:

Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health (EJRH) employs a double-blind peer-review process in which the authors do not know the identity of the reviewers and the reviewers do not the identity of the authors either.

Completing Your Review:

During the reviewer registration process in Editorial Manager, you were asked to select topics in which you have expertise so that we can appropriately direct articles to you for review. Peer reviewers should be knowledgeable about the topic or methods used in the manuscript, and if you find that we’ve incorrectly assigned a paper to you, please decline the review and let us know why in your comments.

As a content expert, we are asking you to put the work into context and perspective. Does the work offer new or important confirmatory information about a clinically relevant topic? The journal values positive studies, negative studies, and studies that refute previously published findings.

When you receive a request to review a paper, there are several steps that we recommend you take.*

  1. ​Quickly examine the request to make sure that you are a content expert for the topic or methodologies used.
  2. Make sure that you don’t have any conflicts related to the writers, topic, or funding sources.
  3. Confirm that you have time to complete the review in the allotted, 14-day period. It can take 2–8 hours to complete a review and if you are at a period in your life that will simply preclude that, we would much rather you decline it early rather than late. We strive to have a rapid submission-to-decision period for our authors and your honesty on this point is important.
  4. Read the manuscript, perhaps making notes of specific issues you want to address in your review.
  5. Search the literature for similar articles in MEDLINE that will bring up a list of comparable articles.
  6. Read the manuscript again.
  7. Make notes or an informal outline of what you want to tell the editor.
  8. Write your review (one page or less is sufficient). It is a good idea to complete your “Comments to the Author” and Comments to the Editor” in a word-processing program so that you can save them for later and run them through spellcheck.
  9. Reread your review for clarity, helpfulness to the authors and editor, and correctness.
  10. Complete the reviewer form.

In the event that you are no longer available to complete a review you have already accepted, please contact the editorial office to have the assignment removed from your account.

For additional perspectives on reviewing, Allen and Ho present an informative and succinct overview about the importance of the peer reviewer in the manuscript submission process in their article published in Circulation: Heart FailureThis article provides practical step-by-step guidelines for reviewers considering whether to accept an invitation to review, a template for structuring reviewer comments to the author, and tips for reviewers about what to prioritize before they submit their comments to a journal. 

Comments to the Authors:

This is the section where you will provide constructive feedback to the authors about their research and manuscript. Please begin your feedback with a general comment that indicates that you understood the article you are reviewing. An example is: “This is a nested cohort study performed at three institutions testing the hypothesis that oral contraceptive pill use decreases the risk of acne.” Your review should move from the general to the specific and should be focused and practical.

Keep in mind that an author needs to respond specifically to criticism, so you should confine your evaluation to a functional change that will improve the manuscript whether accepted or not. (Many rejected manuscripts are eventually published in other journals.) It is most helpful to the author if you follow these guidelines:

  1. ​Number your comments.
  2. Include the line numbers from the manuscript in your comments when appropriate, to aid the author in revising the manuscript.
  3. Any manuscript accepted by Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health (EJRH)is copyedited, so don’t feel the need to correct spelling or grammatical errors. You can, however, point out a manuscript’s generally poor spelling and grammar if they make it difficult for the reader to understand what is being said. 
  4. Remember to keep your review focused and practical. Restrict your comments to elements that are fixable in the context of what the manuscript is. Focus on the purpose of the study, study design and analysis, scientific validity, and conclusions.

Some examples of constructive Comments to the Authors include:

  • ​“Results: Your data combine patients with and without a prior vaginal delivery. In your introduction (Line 75), you state that your study focuses on patients with a previous caesarean who now desires a TOLAC. Can you separate your data out in the analysis?”
  • “You report data over a period of 20 years. Treatment may have changed in this time, thus creating confounding effects. Consider presenting your data in quartiles to minimize this problem.”
  • “This report is very long, with several redundancies. For instance, Figure 2 adds nothing to the text and the substance of Table 3 is repeated on lines 267-275.”


Comments to the Editors:

The “Comments to the Editors” section is optional, but it provides reviewers the opportunity to give a confidential bottom-line assessment of the manuscript. These comments should be brief (a few sentences is ideal) and can be fairly informal and to the point. You do not need to copy the “Comments to Authors” into the “Comments to Editors” section, as the editors will see both.

These comments allow you an opportunity to refocus on what you think the disposition of a manuscript should be. Some basic questions the editors ask themselves when considering the disposition of a manuscript are:


  1. ​Is the content unique, or is this a “me-too” study? Is the material not already in the literature?
  2. Is the manuscript scientifically accurate?
  3. Does it meet the “common sense” rule? That is, do the authors’ results and associations seem plausible?
  4. Will it be of interest to our readers, most of whom are doctors in practice, public health officials and policy makers looking for information that will help them better counsel and treat their patients, device health projects and need evidence based inputs to better manage the health sector? A manuscript may be excellent, but not appropriate for our audience.

The Comments to the Editor is also the section of the review where you would comment on any ethical concerns you have with the manuscript. These might include suspected plagiarism (although for all accepted papers, we do an online plagiarism screen), fraud, or patient confidentiality breeches.

Some examples of useful “Comments to Editors” are:

  • “This RCT was well-done; however there is already a lot in the literature on this subject and this study does not appear to offer anything new.”
  • “The methodology appears to be sound, but this topic is of limited interest to our readers; a subspecialty journal might be a more appropriate venue.”
  • “Interesting question but the study simply doesn’t have enough power to answer it.”

What Qualities Make a Review Exceptional?

The overall criteria for an exceptional review are described in our Reviewer Grading Scale, and are as follows:

  1. ​The review is comprehensive, objective, and insightful.
  2. The review evaluates the purpose of the study, study design, scientific validity, and conclusions.
  3. Suggestions for the author are numbered.
  4. Constructive suggestions to be addressed by the author are given.
  5. Comments to the editor are included addressing whether this is something new and important and useful to the journal’s readers.
  6. The review is returned very promptly.​

After Youve Submitted Your Review:

Your work as a reviewer shouldn’t stop after submitting the review. Take the time to read and consider the other reviews when a final decision is made by the editors. (You’ll receive a copy of the final decision notification via e-mail. You can also log-in to Editorial Manager to follow up on the progress of the particular manuscript. Reading the other reviews can give you insight into the manuscript itself (and things you might have missed), and it can also make you a better reviewer. Most importantly, if the article is ultimately published, read the published version. This way, you can get a sense of how your contribution has benefited the scientific literature as a whole.

 Other Resources:

In addition to the materials in the Appendix, we recommend consulting the following sources:


  1. Allen LA, Ho PM. Peer Review of a Manuscript Submission: A How-To Guide for Effective and Efficient Commentary. Circ Heart Fail 2017 Dec;10(12). pii: e004766. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.117.004766. Available at Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  2. COPE Council. COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. September 2017. Available at​​​. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  3. Durning SJ, Carline JD, eds. Review Criteria for Research Manuscripts, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Association of American Medical Colleges; 2015. Available at: Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  4. Moher D, Jadad AR. How to peer review a manuscript. In: Godlee F, Jefferson T, editors. Peer review in health sciences. 2nd ed. London: BMJ Publishing Group; 2003. p. 183–190.
  5. Raff J. How to become good at peer review: A guide for young scientists. Available at:​. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  6. Stiller-Reeve, M. How to write a thorough peer review. Nature, October 8, 2018. doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-06991-0. Available at: Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  7. Students 4 Best Evidence. Don’t confuse “statistical significance” with “importance.” Available at: Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  8. Wallace J. How To Be A Good Peer Reviewer. The Scholarly Kitchen. Available at: Retrieved September 24, 2019. 

Finally, the following offer free training for peer reviewers:


  1. Wolters Kluwer/Editage - Peer Reviewer Training Course. Available at:
  2. Publons Academy. Available at: