Authors have the option to supply video and/or audio (“rich media”) as part of their article. These can be embedded within their manuscript, much like a figure or table is embedded within the article. These rich media files are as much part of the article as the abstract, or references, or figures, and so must also be peer reviewed.
If you’ve been asked to review an article containing rich media, here are tips for giving the best review:
As with any other part of the article, rich media should be relevant to the overall purpose of the article. Whether it is demonstrating the research methods, or providing an example of key findings, the rich media should make sense within the argument of the article. Extraneous or tangential video or audio shouldn’t be added to an article.
Authors have the option to make additional files available as Supporting Information. If the rich media is useful to readers, but not directly relevant to article, recommend that the files be moved to Supporting Information.
Just like a figure or table, each rich media file should be making a specific point. Authors should avoid clustering multiple different ideas into a single video clip.
Ask yourself, what is the purpose of the video or audio file? And, is this the best format to make that point? For example, a video may be a good way of demonstrating a certain technique or procedure; it is probably not a good way to present a dataset.
If it is not clear what point the rich media is making, recommend that the authors clarify that (or else, remove it).
Every instance of rich media should be accompanied by the caption or legend to explain what it demonstrates. Legends should be self-explanatory and not depend on a detailed reading of the rest of article.
If the legend is unclear (or missing), recommend that the authors rewrite it.
Some videos will be accompanied with a narration to describe what is being shown. Any video or audio file with speech should be accompanied by a transcription of that speech. (Any non-English speech should be translated into English within the transcript.)
Ask yourself, is the narration helpful to understanding the content of the video?. And, does the transcript accurately reflect the content of the video.
If the narration is misleading or unhelpful, recommend the author re-record the narration.
As rich media files are embedded within the article, they should be appropriate to the audience of the journal. Depending on whether journal is primarily focused on researchers or practitioners this may affect what is appropriate to display via video or audio files.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the rich media will be available to anyone with access to the article – for open access articles, that includes the general public. If the contents of video or audio might be considered distressing or offensive, considered whether they are necessary. It might be appropriate for the authors to add a warning at the beginning of their video or audio about the nature of its content.
As with reviewing other aspects of the manuscript, there are things which reviewers are not expected to check because they are captured by other parts of the process. These include:
You are not expected to comment on any of these issues. We check these things internally so reviewers can focus purely on the content. However, if you do have any concerns about rich media, or any other part of the manuscript, do raise these directly with the editorial office.