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Information for current and prospective reviewers

Peer Review Model

Pathology & Oncology Research operates a single-blind peer review process, whereby authors are not aware of the identities or affiliations of the reviewers, but the reviewers are able to view the authors’ identities when they make the decision to proceed with reviewing the manuscript.

The Full Peer Review consists of two phases:

Independent Review

Articles are reviewed by two independent reviewers. During the Independent Review phase, the reviewers assess the manuscript independently from each other and from the authors.

Interactive Review

During the Interactive Review phase, authors and reviewers can interact with each other through real-time comments in the discussion forum – with the aim of addressing all concerns about the manuscript. The handling Editor oversees the review process, and, if required, the Editor in Chief can also enter the Review Forum.

The following articles types undergo a full peer review:

Original Research, Review, Guideline, Systematic Review, Mini Review, Hypothesis & Theory Articles, Brief Research Report, Case Report

Short peer reviews differ from full peer reviews in two aspects: they are directly forwarded to the Interactive Review Phase and they may be reviewed by the handling Editor alone. It is up to the Editor’s consideration if reviewers are invited to the review process.

Interactive Review, manuscript acceptance and rejection follow the same rules as for full peer reviews.

The following articles types are attributed a shortened peer review:

Editorials, Commentaries, Opinion, and Letters to the Editor

Short Peer Review Guidelines

At the discretion of the Editors, the submitted manuscript may be rejected immediately after submission, or after peer review. Manuscripts not complying with international ethical standards will not be considered for publication and will be returned to the authors without scientific peer review.

The review process for manuscripts authored by the Editors in Chief, Assistant Chief Editors, Associate Editors, and Reviewers is made automatically inaccessible to these authors in order to safeguard the anonymity and independence of the review process.

The journal does not allow manuscripts to be submitted that have already been deposited as pre-prints.

For accepted manuscripts, the reviewers’ names are not published on the final formatted article, but the handling editor’s name is published on the article, as an extra mechanism of transparency. 

Guide to Peer Review

Before Accepting the Invitation 

When you receive an invitation to review, it is important to consider the following points before accepting: 

A) Is the manuscript within my expertise? 

Think about whether the manuscript is suitably within your area of expertise, by reviewing the title, abstract, and keywords. If not, please decline the invite, and consider helping us by suggesting alternative relevant experts. 

B) Do I have the time? 

We strive to keep our peer review process efficient and as such reviewers are requested to complete their reports within 15 days after they accept the invitation to review the manuscript at hand. You should let the Editorial Office know if you aren’t able to provide a review but may be able to participate at another time. 

C) Respond to the invite 

We ask reviewers to respond to the review invitation as soon as they can. You are of course free to decline to review if you feel that you lack the time or expertise, and we always appreciate recommendations for alternative reviewers. 

If a reviewer determines that they have insufficient time to complete their review, or if there will be a delay to the deadline after the invitation has been accepted, they can contact the Editorial Office. We will be happy to assist. 

During Peer Review 

Before a manuscript is sent for peer review, the Editorial Office team and the Editor-in-Chief will already have carried out initial quality checks. 

The aims of our reviewers should always be to: 

  • focus on the quality of the science objectively; 

  • collaborate towards improvement and think constructively; 

  • assess the utility and accuracy of the methodology used;

  • help the author and editor understand what is needed with clear comments, referring to specific lines, charts or images, or datasets where appropriate. 

Below are our tips for ensuring a quality review report is produced: 

What to do: 

1) Respect the scope 

Authors provide a ‘contribution to the field’ statement with their manuscript to explain the article’s intended scope and relevance. Keep the focus on what the manuscript is aiming to do, even if your expertise extends in a related direction. You should avoid recommending authors vastly expand the scope of the manuscript (e.g. “you only dealt with x, you need to deal with y”), or take them outside their manuscript’s intended scope. 

If you have reviewed the article for a different journal, please let the editor and the Editorial Office know there may be a conflict of interest. 

2) Focus on science 

Be objective. Also, it is not necessary to flag small copy-editing errors: the Production team will ensure those are fixed during typesetting. It may also be useful to the handling editor if you are able to comment on the robustness of the statistical analyses or other controls where applicable. 

3) Provide constructive feedback 

Comments should seek to recommend reasonable improvements, in a polite and impersonal tone. Show professional courtesy by thinking about what you would want to receive on a paper of your own. Please also give positive feedback where appropriate.

4) Consider field specifics 

Are there elements of the research specific to the field you work in? If so, apply your expertise to give feedback on these. It will be helpful to all involved in the manuscript’s review process. 

5) Submit your review report and make a recommendation

Once you have thoroughly read through the manuscript and evaluated its quality, you will need to complete your independent review report and make a recommendation to the editor. 

For Pathology & Oncology Research, these are:

  • Endorse publication: the paper is ready for publication as currently formulated in the manuscript

  • Revision is required: the paper needs light to moderate revision and then will be ready for publication (please do detail the revisions that the authors shall make, in your view)

  • Substantial revision is required: the paper needs significant or thorough revision, such as additional data analysis, major changes to the literature cited, or restructuring of the argumentation presented in large sections of the manuscript’s text

  • Recommend rejection: the paper is not appropriate for the journal, or the revisions required to make it appropriate are too extensive for the submission to be able to proceed, or the issues found during review are too extensive to be rectified through peer review.

What NOT to do: 

1) Don’t be vague or too brief 

Authors find precise and detailed feedback extremely helpful, and this tends to result in a timely and smoother review process. Whereas a brief report will often lead to additional questions from authors. Make sure recommendations and decisions are explained clearly. Please give yourself enough time to conduct a thorough review.

2) Don’t leave out key points in your initial report 

The initial report should be thorough and provide all the necessary feedback upfront. While it is possible that further revisions to the paper will bring up new questions, be sure to include your key points in your initial report. Ensure you conclude your report with a clear recommendation for the editor. You are the expert and your guidance is highly valued. 

3) Don’t drop out of the peer review 

To ensure an efficient process for all involved, please try to submit your responses on time. If you need to request an extension or to withdraw from the review process you can do this directly in the review forum at any time, or contact the Editorial Office for support.

4) Don’t betray the manuscript’s confidentiality

Please keep the contents of a manuscript under review strictly confidential, except for your comments to the handling editor and author(s). Do not involve anyone else in the review of a manuscript, including junior researchers or mentees without express permission from the journal.

Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers:

Frontiers is a member of COPE, and as the publisher of Pathology & Oncology Research, we request that peer reviewers adhere in full to COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers

Keep in touch

Encountering any issues during review or have any concerns with the manuscript? Need assistance using our review platform? Need to request an extension to submit your review? For these or any other inquiries or updates, do not hesitate to write to the Editorial Office:

Joining as a reviewer

If you're interested in being considered to join as a Reviewer, please send us an inquiry at: We look forward to hearing from you.