The Peer-Review Process

The publication of an article in a peer-reviewed journal is an essential building block in the development of a coherent and respected network of knowledge. It is a direct reflection of the quality of the work of the authors and the institutions that support them. Peer-reviewed articles support and embody the scientific method. It is important to agree upon standards of expected ethical behaviour for all parties involved in the act of publishing: the author, the journal, the editor, the peer reviewer, and the publisher.

It is a challenging task and here is how we do it.

When a manuscript arrives, a staff member checks to make sure that all materials required for submission are included (see "Information for Authors," which is posted on our Web site). If everything is present, the article is logged into our manuscript-tracking system.

The review process starts on the desk of the editor-in-chief, who reviews each submission and decides on the basis of its general content whether it is appropriate even for consideration for publication.

Each scientific manuscript is then assigned to an associate editor with expertise in the subject area covered by the study, who makes an independent assessment of the value and validity of the paper. The associate editor will be looking particularly for major deviations from protocol, poor reporting or over-interpretation of data, loss of originality or topicality, and submission unreasonably after the planned submission date. If the associate editor believes that even with favourable reviews the paper would not be published, the paper is given to a deputy editor for a second opinion. If the editors concur that publication is unlikely, the manuscript is returned to its authors.

Decision To Accept

For manuscripts that are "accepted", Healthcare Bulletin commits to send the main clinical manuscript for external peer-review. Our external reviewers are the foundation of our peer-review process. Reviewers are asked to provide a forthright evaluation of the scientific validity of the manuscript, insight into its freshness, clinical impact, and timeliness, and an overall opinion of its worthiness for publication. Theirs is the crucial step in manuscript evaluation. As publishers, we are grateful to all our reviewers for their continued contribution to the rating process. The reviewers provide critiques and advice that the editorial staff use in making decisions.

When reviews are returned, the associate editor assesses the manuscript again, along with the comments of the reviewers. The associate editor may seek additional opinions from other reviewers, or discuss the manuscript with editorial staff. At this stage a decision is made either to reject the paper or to proceed with further editorial consideration.  In some cases, the editorial staff may recommend additional review by outside reviewers. On completion of this process, the manuscript is returned to its authors along with a letter inviting them to revise it and to respond to certain questions. When all the requested information has been received, the manuscript is reconsidered by an associate editor and a final decision to accept or reject the paper is made.

In the end, our decision is based on our best assessment of the manuscript's merits — the veracity of its findings, its potential interest to our readers, its timeliness and potential impact on medical practice.

Decision To Reject

While it is unusual for us to change an editorial decision once a manuscript is rejected, we are willing to consider an appeal from the authors. An appeal is more likely to be successful if the authors make a concerted effort to revise the manuscript in accordance with the reviewers' comments.

Manuscript Tracking

We understand the importance of a submitted manuscript to its authors and have instituted a manuscript-tracking service for authors, Manuscript Track. This service allows the corresponding author of a submitted paper to enquire about his or her manuscript as it progresses through our review system by sending a short email to . The Manuscript Track system will provide reassurance that a manuscript is moving through the review process.

We invite you to submit your best research to us; we will treat it with respect, and now you can follow it throughout the review process.

Guidelines For Reviewers

Healthcare Bulletin currently considers the following article types: Hypothesis, Research, Review articles and Brief reports,

Reviewers are asked to provide a forthright evaluation of the scientific validity of the manuscript, insight into its freshness, clinical impact, and timeliness, and an overall opinion of its worthiness for publication.  Reviewers should focus on the science of the paper.

When assessing the work, please consider the following points:

  1. Are the methods appropriate and well described, and are sufficient details provided to replicate the work?
  2. Are the data sound and well controlled?
  3. Is the question posed new and well defined?
  4. Does the manuscript adhere to the relevant standards for reporting and data deposition?
  5. Do the title and abstract accurately convey what has been found?
  6. Are the discussion and conclusions well balanced and adequately supported by the data?
  7. Is the writing acceptable?

Please make your report as constructive and detailed as possible in your comments so the authors have the opportunity to overcome any deficiencies that you find.

Confidential Comments To Editors

As a safeguard against pseudoscience, you have the option, in addition to writing a negative review, to alert the Editors-in-Chief ( ) that, in your opinion, a particular manuscript is not a legitimate scientific work and therefore should not be published in any form. The Editors-in-Chief will make the final decision in such (rare) cases.

Declaration Of Competing Interests

All reviewers should declare their competing interests in relation to the manuscript they are reviewing. Your peer reviewer declaration should be included in your report.

In the context of peer review, a competing interest exists when your interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by your personal or financial relationship with other people or organizations. Reviewers should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment were they to become public after the publication of the manuscript.

When completing your declaration, please consider the following questions:

  • Do you hold any stocks or shares in an organisation that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of   this manuscript, either now or in the future?
  • Do you have any other financial competing interests?
  • Do you have any non-financial competing interests in relation to this manuscript?
  • Do you hold or are you currently applying for any patents relating to the content of the manuscript? Have you received reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript?
  • Have you in the past five years received reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organisation that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of this manuscript, either now or in the future?

If you can answer no to all of the above, write 'I declare that I have no competing interests' in your report. If your reply is yes to any, please give details.


Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorised by the editor.

Submitting A Review

Please submit your review through our website using the login details provided.  Please do not submit your review by email.

All fields are required

Please ensure you have read the reviewers guidelines prior to submitting you review