Peer-review is the system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Independent researchers in the relevant research area assess submitted manuscripts for originality, validity and significance to help Editors determine whether the manuscript should be published in their journal. You can read more about the peer-review process here.
Trials operates an open peer-review system, where the reviewers' names are included on the peer review reports for authors. In addition, if the article is published, the named reviewer reports are published online alongside the article under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0. Previous versions of the manuscript and all author responses to the reviewers are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The benefit of open peer review is that it increases transparency. The peer reviewers and Editors are fully accountable for the decisions made, bias is reduced as reviewer reports are named, published reports can serve an educational purpose in helping facilitate training and research into peer review, and reviewers can get credit for their work.
Submitted manuscripts will generally be reviewed by two or more experts who will be asked to evaluate whether the manuscript is scientifically sound and coherent, whether it duplicates already published work, and whether or not the manuscript is sufficiently clear for publication. The Editors will reach a decision based on these reports and, where necessary, they will consult with members of the Editorial Board.
Study protocols for randomized trials will be reviewed by a Protocol Editor, who will assess the manuscript's adherence to SPIRIT guidance. Protocols which have been peer-reviewed as part of an external funding application may not require further external review. You will be asked to provide proof of funding on submission to the journal.
In cases where the journal is unable to find sufficient peer reviewers, the services of a publishing partner, Research Square, may be used to identify suitable reviewers and provide reports to avoid further delays for authors. Reviewers recruited by Research Square are paid a small honorarium for completing the review within a specified timeframe. Honoraria are paid regardless of the reviewer recommendation. With Research Square, a double-blind peer review system is in operation.
In cases where reports have been obtained by Research Square, the peer review reports will be unsigned unless the reviewer opts in to sign the report.