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Peer Review Guidelines

Published 12.5.2022

The peer review process is helpful to the author and helps the publisher in their decision-making. In addition to the informal review reports, we use a form to evaluate the manuscripts on a numeric scale. The numeric evaluation is not disclosed to the author, and it is only used as a tool to support the editorial board and the editor-in-chief in their evaluations. In addition to providing a report, the referee can add marginal notes to the manuscript.

The purpose of the review is to help the member of the editorial board in drafting their statement and the editor-in-chief in making a decision on whether or not to publish the manuscript. The review is helpful to the author especially when it includes constructive and concrete suggestions on how to improve the manuscript and make it publishable. Furthermore, when writing the review, the referee should keep in mind the kind of feedback they would like to receive to help them improve. Hence, the review should be objective, supportive, and as well founded as possible.

We use a double-blind review process. The identity of the referee can be disclosed to the author only at the referee’s request in a separately agreed upon manner.

The referee should explicitly state whether the manuscript should be published as is, with minor revisions, or after major revisions, or if it is best to leave the manuscript unpublished.

Questions to help with peer review:

  • What are the manuscript’s merits in terms of producing new information or providing new perspectives?
  • Are the research questions presented clearly?
  • Does the author provide answers to the research questions?
  • Is the author familiar with the literature in their field?
  • Does the manuscript contain appropriate references? Is something relevant missing?
  • Is the theoretical, methodological, or conceptual framework adequately connected to the empirical?
  • Are the material and methods presented clearly and precisely?
  • Does the author validate their arguments?
  • Does the content of the manuscript support the conclusions?
  • Do the conclusions take things further, or is the author merely rewording what has already been said?
  • Is the manuscript well structured, and does it have a logical flow of ideas?
  • Do the headings provide a clear description of the content?
  • Is the language fluent? What kind of a reading experience does the manuscript offer?
  • Are all figures and tables informative and necessary?
  • Is the manuscript a good fit to be published by kela?

References and Plagiarism

If the manuscript overlaps significantly with previously published material, it must be made known to the publisher. Previously published material will not be republished. Plagiarism is not tolerated.

Any suspicion of plagiarism as well as insufficient use of quotations and references should be mentioned in the review. Direct quotes must be placed inside quotations marks, and detailed references must be included. A translation can also be a quote.

All parties of the peer review process must comply with the guidelines for the responsible conduct of research provided by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK). We suggest the parties familiarise themselves with TENK’s other guidelines as well.

Staying on Schedule

If the agreed schedule proves to be problematic, please contact the senior publishing editor.

Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest

If you suspect a conflict of interest when reviewing a manuscript, contact the senior publishing editor immediately. They will then discuss the matter with the editor-in-chief and the member of the editorial board who suggested the referee, after which the editor-in-chief will make a decision regarding the continuation of the process.

All manuscripts and related material are under copyright protection. Therefore, all reviewed manuscripts are confidential and must be handled accordingly. You are not allowed to reveal or talk about the manuscripts with outside parties, unless separately agreed upon with the editor-in-chief. The content of an unpublished manuscript may not be used for personal gain without permission.

These instructions are based on the guidelines drafted by Pauliina Raento from the Finnish Association for Scholarly Publishing. The guidelines were published in 2009 and updated in 2019, and they have been adapted to suit Kela’s scholarly publishing.

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