Sound science journal reviewer guidance

How we approach peer review

Whenever possible, we use standard peer review questions for sound science journals, which place emphasis on the science being well conducted and ethically and scientifically sound – you will see these in the review form.

Please remember, we aim to publish all rigorous, valid, ethically sound and transparent research, regardless of novelty, interest, or perceived impact.

Research articles should represent a specific advance, replication or null/negative result which other researchers could build upon or avoid in order to protect time and research funding, more details and guidance are below.

Research that is suitable for publication in a sound science journal must be:

  • Scientifically valid – adhering to accepted community standards of research, with conclusions that are substantiated by the data
  • Technically accurate in its methods and results
  • Ethically sound and transparent — adhering to best practice e.g.: with respect to animal and human studies and consent to publish. Has clear declaration of potential conflicts of interest (both real and perceived), and with no concerns about image manipulation or plagiarism
  • As reproducible as possible – sharing underlying data, code, and supporting materials wherever possible, and following widely accepted reporting guidelines
  • Representative of a specific advance, replication, or null/negative result, which other researchers could build upon or avoid in order to protect time and research funding e.g.:
    • Replication studies or works that confirm, support, or are unable to replicate the results of other studies
    • Negative or null results
    • Studies showing a method, tool, resource or reagent is not workable/applicable to a particular research question
    • Smaller studies, for example case reports, case series, or reports of new or adapted tools or methods without large-scale research findings
    • Registration of protocols and/or study designs, e.g., via the Registered Reports workflow
    • Geographically focused works e.g., from resource limited or geographically under-represented areas might not offer novel conclusions, but remain regionally important.

Questions to consider when assessing a research article:

  1. Does the study approach align with the research objectives?
  2. Does the paper explain its data collection methodologies and establish the validity of the data? (E.g.: sample number, controls, inclusion/exclusion criteria, selection bias etc.,)
  3. Are the results complete and accurate?
  4. Are the findings supported by data and are the tables/figures appropriate?
  5. Are the strengths and limitations of the study mentioned?
  6. Are the conclusions consistent with the data presented and not exaggerated?
  7. Are the references cited recent (where appropriate) and relevant?
  8. Is the paper ethically sound and transparent?

Giving your feedback:

Reviewer recommendations should not be made solely on novelty, interest, or perceived impact.

We do not impose any page count limitations, nor require authors to format manuscripts to journal style, so recommendations should not take these into consideration.

Reviewer comments to the authors should be constructive and give actionable advice on strengthening their manuscript to the point where it may be suitable for publication.