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Peer Reviewer Instructions

PNAS relies on the time and expertise of volunteer reviewers to maintain its high editorial standards. We look to reviewers to help PNAS ensure the following in a submitted paper:

  1. Research is well designed and executed.
  2. Presentation of methods will permit replication.
  3. Data are unambiguous and properly analyzed.
  4. Conclusions are supported by data.

Peer reviewers also have important responsibilities to authors, editors, and readers. Please consider them carefully.

Reviewer responsibilities to authors include the following:

  • Provide written, unbiased feedback on the scholarly merits and scientific value of the work, together with rationale for your opinion.
  • Provide your review as soon as possible within 10 days. If you cannot do so, please contact the PNAS office immediately at pnas{at}nas.edu or call 202-334-2679.
  • Indicate whether the writing is clear, concise, and relevant and rate the work’s composition, scientific accuracy, originality, and interest to readers.
  • Avoid personal comments or criticism.
  • Refrain from direct author contact without the editor’s permission.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the review process by not sharing, discussing with third parties, or disclosing information from the reviewed paper without permission from the editorial office.

Reviewer responsibilities to editors include the following:

  • Alert the editor to any potential personal or financial conflict of interest you may have and decline to review when a possibility of a conflict exists (see "Ethical Responsibilities of Reviewers").
  • Determine scientific merit, originality, and scope of the work and suggest ways to improve it.
  • Avoid comments to authors about acceptance or rejection of the paper; include such remarks as confidential comments for editors.
  • Note any ethical concerns, such as substantial similarity between the reviewed manuscript and any published paper or any manuscript concurrently submitted elsewhere.

Reviewer responsibilities to readers include the following:

  • Ensure that published articles meet PNAS standards.
  • Protect readers from incorrect or flawed research or studies that cannot be validated by others.
  • Be alert to any failure to cite relevant work by other scientists.

These guidelines are adapted from the Council of Scientific Editors’ White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications.

Reviewers of NAS Member Contributed articles:

  • Since January 2017, the administrative aspects of the review process for Contributed articles have been handled by the PNAS Editorial Office and reviews must be submitted through the online submission system.
  • The names and institutional affiliations of all reviewers of Contributed papers are included on the published article.

[07/17]

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