Reviewer Instructions

The New Zealand Journal of Ecology currently uses a single-blind review process by default.  So, while you as a reviewer can see who the authors are, you as a reviewer will remain anonymous to the authors.  Some reviewers chose to name themselves in their review, and you are welcome to do so if you wish to.

The New Zealand Journal of Ecology currently uses the Scholastica journal management system to coordinate peer-review.  As a reviewer you will have the opportunity to provide private comments to the editor, as well as comments to the authors via the Scholastica web form.  As file attachments are not allowed to ensure reviewer anonymity, the journal recommends you compile your comments in a word processor and then copy and paste your comments into the web form when you are ready to submit your review.  In doing so, please make use of page and line numbers within the manuscript to identify any specific locations in the manuscript.  For technical guidance on how to interact with Scholastica as a reviewer, please refer to Scholastica’s Reviewer Guide for full instructions.

The New Zealand Journal of Ecology does not have specific rules or instructions for reviewers.  Those new to the peer-review process may wish to refer to useful resources such as the British Ecological Society’s Guide to Peer Review.

To try and ensure a welcoming, ethical, and supportive professional environment the New Zealand Ecological Society has developed a code of conduct that all reviewers are expected to abide by.

Key things to consider before accepting are:

  • Any conflicts of interest that might prevent you from providing an objective review.
  • Your ability to comment on the work.  Remember, you do not necessarily need to be an expert on all aspects of the work to help contribute to the review, and you can note in your response to the editor any areas that you cannot comment on.
  • Your availability to provide a timely review.  As a general rule, if you do not think you can very confidently provide a review within 2-4 weeks, then you will actually help the journal more by declining the review.

As every paper is different, it is impossible to provide specific reviewer guidance that can be universally applied.  However, some key things to consider about the content and presentation while completing your review are listed below.  What is most important is that you explain and justify any criticism.  Even if you disagree with the author(s)’s opinions, let them stand provided they are consistent with the evidence.

  • Are the objectives of the work and of the paper itself clearly stated?
  • Does the paper contain errors of fact or reasoning?
  • Should more, or less, detail be included?
  • Are the conclusions justified and clearly expressed?
  • Are all the references justified, or should there be others?
  • Is the presentation logical and concise?
  • Are all the tables and figures necessary, and are they clearly presented?

The New Zealand Journal of Ecology relies entirely on the voluntary efforts of reviewers to operate, so the support from any reviewers is very much appreciated!