Reviewers Guidelines

Section A – Guidelines for manuscript review

Please review the manuscript as you would want one of your manuscripts reviewed. Provide as many constructive comments and useful recommendations as possible. Provide the reasons for your evaluation of the manuscript.

As a reviewer you have the responsibility for providing a constructive, well-reasoned appraisal of manuscripts phrased in the spirit of professional courtesy. For each manuscript you should be able to provide a clear and definite answer to the following questions:

1.   Has any material in this article been published previously? If so, please supply details to the editor.

2.   Is the research of adequate significance (new findings, confirms or contradicts other work) to warrant publication?

3.   Is the research scientifically sound?


The following outline may assist you in your evaluation of a manuscript.


Is the title appropriate and clear?


I. Is it specific and representative of the article?

II.  Is the motive for the research indicated?



I.  Identify subject, is the subject of the article clearly identified?

II.  Orient research to previous concepts and research.

III.  State hypothesis, objectives and/or purpose. Is the purpose clearly stated?

IV.  Is the objective and/or hypothesis important for the area of research?


Materials and Methods

I.  Design, is the design appropriate for the purpose of the study?

II.  Model, is the statistical analysis clearly presented with the most appropriate method for treatment comparisons?

III.  Subject(s), are all subjects identified?

IV  .Materials

V.  Procedures, is there sufficient detail to enable the reader to duplicate the procedures?

VI.  .Methods for observations and interpretation.



I.  Are the results presented in a logical sequence to support the hypothesis?

II.  Are the tabular data summarized or merely repeated in the text?



i.Interpret data presented in Results in a succinct manner. Are there errors of fact or interpretation?

ii.Relate findings to previous research. Is the relationship between the results and previous work relevant?

iii.Has the author cited all and only pertinent literature?

iv.Reasons for differences in results.

v.Implications for practical application and future research.


•Conclusions i.Are conclusions stated briefly in a logical order?

ii.Considerable time can be saved by entering spelling corrections, grammatical suggestions, and word rearrangements directly on the manuscript.



Section B – Guidelines for manuscript rating by reviewers


Review sheets include a rating (1 – 5) for manuscripts by reviewers. Ratings aid the editor’s comparison of initial reviews of a manuscript.




These “guidelines” for rating manuscripts are necessarily subjective and imprecise. Reviewers should exercise their own judgment as to what issue or issues justify their final recommendation. Revision may move a manuscript up the scale and greatly improve its likelihood for acceptance. Only rarely are manuscripts accepted without some revisions.


5 = Excellent manuscript in all regards. (few expected in this category)

•Good science, follows scientific method, no major flaws

•Exciting new information (breakthrough)

•Timely, clinically relevant

•Well-planned, data clearly presented, logical analysis, appropriate statistics

•Discussion and conclusions flow logically from data

•Good language and spelling, format appropriate for Journal, follows instructions

•Excellent readability

•No conflict of interest or ethical problems

•Title and length appropriate

•Citations comprehensive but not excessive

•Tag as “lead” article, or as of sufficient interest to justify editorial

•Accept as is (rare) or with minor to moderate revisions


4 = Good (above average) manuscript. (most accepted papers are in this category)

•General qualities typical of most papers in Postgraduate Medical Journal of Ghana

•Usually only minor to moderate revisions required, re-review usually not necessary

•No major flaws in concept or logic

•No ethical or conflict of interest problems

•Adds some new information with clinical relevance

•Readable, clinically relevant

•Appropriate analysis, or minor flaws correctable without major effort

•Language good, formatting appropriate or easily fixed

•Citations reasonable


3 = Average manuscript. (many rejected because of lack of space or limited interest)

•Good science but not exciting, not new, issues already well described in literature

•Moderate or major revisions required, re-review may be necessary

•Average language and readability, often too long

•Appropriate analysis

•Citations reasonable


2 = Below average manuscript. (most rejections in this category)

•Revision unlikely to lead to acceptance, may waste editorial office effort

•Major revisions recommended

•Re-review necessary before reconsidering

•Flawed study organization, data collection, methods

•Analysis inadequate or inappropriate

•Low clinical relevance

•Disconnect between data and conclusions

•No new information

•Poor language

•Incomplete or excessive citations


1 = Not acceptable (reject)

•Hopeless, flawed beyond repair

•Not appropriate for Journal

•No new information

•Poorly conceived, data inadequate, analysis flawed

•Language unacceptable

•No justification for additional peer-review effort

•Citations inadequate, inappropriate


Estimating “average” reader interest: Reviewers are also asked to estimate reader interest from high to low. Many excellent papers may have limited appeal to the average reader and may be more appropriate for alternative journals