GUIDELINES FOR REVIEWERS
Thank you for agreeing to review for the online, open-access journal, Ecosphere. This journal has the same high-quality standards of the other journals published by the Ecological Society of America, but papers will be reviewed quickly and published rapidly if accepted. Please read the following guidelines to ensure that your review provides the information needed for the Subject-matter Editor (SME) to make a prompt decision about this paper. To submit your review, log in at: http://ecosphere.esapubs.org/.
1. Rapid Review: The emphasis is speed of publication that requires rapid response from both editors and reviewers. Reviewers should respond within a short period of time (typically 1-2 weeks) to maintain a rapid decision and publication schedule.
2. Short, concise reviews: Reviews should consist of a few short paragraphs commenting upon the strengths and weaknesses of the submission and highlighting areas that need revision. Detailed reviews providing extensive suggestions for revision are not expected and are discouraged if they cannot be completed in the timeframe expected. Rather, a typical Ecosphere review will be concise, emphasizing the points that the authors need to take into account before publication. The review should assess the following criteria:
• the importance and interest in the ideas and results to the readers of ESA journals
• the scientific soundness, coherence, and support by the evidence and logic presented
• the organization, concision, and clarity of the writing
• whether there are major deficiencies that require a substantial revision
When reviewers identify major deficiencies, the Subject-matter Editor (SME) or Editor-in-Chief (EIC) will reject the paper. However, the SME or EIC can invite a resubmission to Ecosphere that addresses these deficiencies if the other criteria are met.
4. Ecosphere papers will not have digital appendices or supplements. There are no page length restrictions; thus all material will be part of the paper. The rare cases of extremely long supplementary material may be deposited in the Digital Archives of the ESA and linked to the paper in Ecosphere.
5. Limited copyediting will be provided. Authors are responsible for editing and formatting their papers (see Instructions to Authors). Reviewers are not expected to provide detailed comments on the style or format of the text. Papers requiring extensive editing should be rejected.
Comments for the Editor
Please provide a short statement about the contributions of the paper, its appropriateness for the journal, and the degree and type of revisions required before publication..
Comments for the Author
Briefly identify the major contributions of the paper and its major strengths and weaknesses. Please do not indicate whether or not the paper should be published.
Concisely emphasize your most significant points from the following categories:
1. Presentation -- Does the paper tell a cohesive story? Is a tightly reasoned argument evident throughout the paper? Where does the paper wander from this argument? Do the title, abstract, key words, introduction, and conclusions accurately and consistently reflect the major point(s) of the paper? Is the writing concise, easy to follow, interesting?
2. Length -- What portions of the paper should be expanded, condensed, combined, or deleted?
3. Methods -- Are they appropriate and described clearly enough that the work could be repeated?
4. Data presentation -- Are all tables and figures necessary, clearly labeled, and readily interpretable?
5. Statistical design and analyses -- Are they appropriate and correct? For further advice, consult our Guidelines for Statistical Analysis and Data Presentation.
6. Interpretation: -- Are the major contributions of the paper clearly stated and justified? Are any of the results counterintuitive?
6. Errors -- Point out errors in technique, fact, calculation, or interpretation.
7. Citations -- Are pertinent references cited?
This manuscript is a privileged communication. Please do not show it to anyone or discuss it, except to solicit assistance with a technical point. If you feel a colleague is more qualified than you to review the paper, do not pass the manuscript on to that person without first requesting permission to do so from the SME or EIC. Your review and your recommendation should also be considered confidential.
Conflicts of Interest
If you feel you might have difficulty writing an objective review, please return the paper immediately, unreviewed. If your previous or present connection with the author(s) or an author's institution might be construed as creating a conflict of interest, but no actual conflict exists, please discuss this issue in your confidential comments to the SME. If in doubt, please contact the Subject-matter Editor.
If the research reported in this paper is flawed, criticize the science, not the scientist. Harsh words in a review will cause the reader to doubt your objectivity; as a result, your criticisms will be rejected, even if they are correct! Comments directed to the author should convince the author that (1) you have read the entire paper carefully, (2) your criticisms are objective and correct, are not merely differences of opinion, and are intended to help the author improve his or her paper, and (3) you are qualified to provide an expert opinion about the research reported in this paper. If you fail to win the author's respect and appreciation, much of your effort will have been wasted.
You may sign your review if you wish. If you choose to remain anonymous, avoid comments to the authors that might serve as clues to your identity and be careful about annotating the manuscript (see below). Unless you indicate otherwise (such as by signing your remarks for the authors), we will assume you wish to remain anonymous.