XHP adopts the single blind peer review process, meaning that the author does not know the identity of the reviewer, but the reviewer knows the identity of the author. The journal editors mediate all interactions between reviewers and authors. The peer reviews are not published publicly, and the reviews are owned by the reviewers who author them.
The purpose of peer review is to provide constructive and encouraging but rigorous comments on the quality of research and the English language. All comments and suggestions from our peer reviewers are required to maintain a respectful tone and be returned to the editors in a timely manner. Usually, a turnaround time of 15 days is assigned for completion of the evaluation after a peer reviewer has accepted a manuscript. A short grace period may be allowed in extenuating circumstances. Peer reviewers may help ensure the ethical integrity of each manuscript by pointing out any identified or suspected cases of scientific or textual plagiarism. Peer reviewers are encouraged to follow the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines (https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines-new/cope-ethical-guidelines-peer-reviewers) and flowchart (https://publicationethics.org/files/What-to-consider-when-asked-to-PR.pdf) when peer reviewing a manuscript. All our journals comply fully with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' uniform requirements for manuscripts.
Initial assessment & triage
When the editorial office receives a new submission, the editorial staff then performs an initial assessment of the manuscript to determine its topical relevance, adherence to the journal’s formatting guidelines, and the absence of plagiarism in both the textual and scientific content. If the manuscript passes this initial assessment, the manuscript is forwarded to an academic editor with appropriate expertise in the subject area or study design to perform triage. To save time for the authors and peer reviewers, only those manuscripts that seem most likely to meet our editorial criteria are sent for formal review. Those manuscripts judged by the editors to be of insufficient general interest or to be inappropriate for the journal are rejected promptly without external review.If a manuscript passes both the initial assessment and triage, the academic editor will assign the manuscript to peer reviewers for evaluation.
Selecting peer reviewers
The academic editor is responsible for seeking and assigning at least 2 external peer reviewers with expertise in the topic or specialty of the manuscript. Factors, such as a reviewer’s characteristics, reputation, specific recommendations, publication records, previous experience, and potential conflict of interests, will be taken into consideration when selecting reviewers. XHP strives to achieve diverse demographic representation in our reviewer database, and therefore, we strongly encourage authors who recommend reviewers to provide as diverse a peer review list as possible, particularly in terms of gender and geography.
Peer review evaluation
After a peer reviewer has accepted a manuscript, 14 days is allotted for completion of the peer review evaluation. If a reviewer needs an extension to complete the review, they should inform the editors in advance, so that the editors can judge if it is necessary to find an alternative reviewer.Reviewers’ comments should be constructive, honest, and polite. The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with the necessary information to reach a decision. The review should also instruct the authors on how they can improve their manuscripts. Reviewers’ negative comments should explain to the authors the main shortcomings of their manuscript to help the authors understand the reasons and basis for the decision and know what needs to be done to improve the quality of the manuscript. Reviewers are welcome to recommend specific improvements to authors. However, other reviewers may have different technical expertise and perspectives, and editors may have to make different decisions based on conflicting suggestions from reviewers. Therefore, the most helpful review report is one that provides the editor with the information on which to base this decision. It is often more helpful for the editor if reviewers can list the reasons and evidence for and against publication than to simply state individual points.Reviewers should be aware that the declined manuscripts may be transferred to another XHP journal. In this circumstance, the reviewers’ comments are also transferred to help the editors at the receiving journal to make decisions.
(1) The importance and significance of the research findings.
Overall Merit: The manuscript has an overall benefit by providing an advance towards the scientific knowledge, and the authors have addressed important issues with well-designed experiments.
Significance: The manuscript has a key significance by which its hypotheses and speculations are carefully identified, its conclusions are justified and supported by the results, and its results are significant and interpreted appropriately.
Interest to Readers: The manuscript is of interest to a wide readership (refer to the journal’s Aim & Scope).
(2) The novelty and innovative nature of the research.
Novelty: The authors raise an original and well-defined question/hypothesis. The results and the conclusion overturn or advance the current scientific knowledge.
(3) The quality of the presentation and readability.
Presentation: The manuscript is well written with clear logic and fluent structure. The data are presented appropriately according to the highest standards.
Scientific Rationality: The study is correctly designed and technically rational. The analyses are performed appropriately. The data are credible and sufficiently support the conclusions. The methods, materials, software, and reagents are described with enough details to allow others to reproduce the results.
Language and style: English language usage is correct, and the style is appropriate.
(4) The strict ethical standards.
Manuscripts submitted to XHP journals should not have been submitted before nor published elsewhere, even in part or in other languages.
Manuscripts must be original and should not reuse text, figures, tables, or other materials from another source without appropriate citation and/or permission.
For basic and clinical research, the studies should have been carried out in accordance with generally accepted ethical research standards.
If reviewers become aware of fraud, plagiarism, or any scientific misconduct or other unethical behavior related to the manuscript, it is the reviewer’s responsibility and obligation to raise such suspicions with the Editorial Office immediately.
Evaluation for Each Session of the Manuscript
The Title will be evaluated as a concise and informative description of the major points of the study’s key features.
The Abstract will be evaluated for its clarity and appropriateness in describing the study’s objectives, materials (including patient/subject and control groups and features) and methods (including statistical procedures), results (including summary data obtained by the methods and materials described, as well as measurement and statistical values), and conclusions supported by the results presented and within the scope and limitations of the study design.
The Introduction will be evaluated for its presentation of background information that is not only germane to the study objectives but also representative of the current information in the literature. The study objectives and major features of the study design should be clearly stated.
The Materials and Methods will be evaluated for sufficient and thorough presentation of sample populations/specimens and reagents/equipment as well as all processes (laboratory and/or clinical) that will allow for a reader to replicate the study and validate its findings. Regarding the appropriate use of statistics and treatment of uncertainties, please include in the review report a specific comment on the appropriateness of any statistical tests, and the accuracy of the description of any probability values and error bars, which should be defined in the corresponding figure legends.
The Results will be evaluated for comprehensive and specific presentation of the data, including all measurement values and results of statistical analyses, obtained by the experimental and observational processes described in the Materials and Methods section. All tables and figures as well as supplementary materials must be cited in the text. Please comment on the validity of the data and the objective accuracy of its presentation. We expect reviewers to review all data, including any supplementary data and extended information.
The Discussion will be evaluated for interpretation of the study’s results that are within the scope and limitations of the study design. Speculation on a finding’s implications must be supported by clearly described reasoning supported by references to knowledge in the literature. The conclusions should not be overstated.
The References will be evaluated for their topical relevance and representation of the most current knowledge in the literature. Reviewers should remind authors to correct statements made without proper citations.
The Tables and Figures will be evaluated for their ability to communicate a set of data in the most effective, logical and simple manner, with minimal confusion (such as redundancy or over-stylization).
Reviewers’ reports do not have to follow the above order but should reflect the thinking process of the reviewers. All statements should be justified and argued in detail, pointing out the facts and citing supporting references, if necessary. Due to different subject standards, the above aspects are not always applicable to all manuscripts reviewed. If in doubt about the review criteria for a particular discipline, reviewers can contact the journal editor for guidance. If any specific part of a manuscript is outside the reviewer's expertise, or if the reviewer is unable to adequately evaluate a manuscript, the reviewer should raise such concerns with the editor at the earliest opportunity.
Editorial comments and decision
Upon return of at least 2 peer review reports per manuscript, the academic editor will make a reasoned recommendation for acceptance, minor revision, major revision or rejection of an article and provide this decision to the Editor-in-Chief who makes the final editorial decision. The authors then revise the paper, as needed, based on the reviewers’ comments and editorial comments.
When reviewers provide opposing comments or authors think an article has been misunderstood by reviewers, the manuscript may be returned to the reviewers for further advice. Therefore, reviewers should be willing to provide follow-up advice as requested. However, to avoid extended arguments between reviewers, editors will try to control the consulting in an efficient way. After the authors submit their revision, the manuscript will undergo another round of peer review or be sent to the Editor-in-Chief for a final decision. If a manuscript is accepted, the preparation stage for publication then begins.
All communications and documents shared among the editorial staff, representatives of Xia & He Publishing, Inc., and peer reviewers are kept strictly confidential and are never shared with a third party. Confidential comments to the editor are welcome and should be in accordance with the major points stated in the comments to the authors.
Reviewers are required not to identify themselves to authors before the manuscript receives a final decision of acceptance or rejection.
Peer reviewers agree not to discuss any portion of the manuscripts they are entrusted to review with anyone outside of the staff or representatives of Xia & He Publishing, Inc. In addition, reviewers are not allowed to keep the manuscript for their personal use and should destroy any paper copies of manuscripts and delete electronic copies and other review records after completing their review of a manuscript.
The practice of transferring a manuscript that is assigned for peer review to another colleague (including but not limited to graduate students, post docs, and any other trainee or collaborator) is considered unethical and forbidden. A peer reviewer must obtain prior approval from the journal’s editorial office before using a peer review assignment as a training opportunity or consulting a colleague with greater expertise in a particular area related to the topic. The request for such approval must include the name(s) and affiliation(s) of the proposed colleague(s), and an explicit declaration of assurance that the reviewer assigned by the journal will act as the principal reviewer and retain sole responsibility for the quality and integrity of the review content.
Author may appeal an editorial decision by sending an email to editorial office. The appeal must contain detailed reasons/responses or rebuttals to the review comments and the editorial comments. The appeal and related material and/or information will be forwarded to the Editor-in-Chief for judgement and for decision on the manuscript. The Editor-in-Chief may recommend acceptance, revision, rejection, or referring to additional peer reviewers. The editorial decision at this stage will be final and cannot be reversed.