For Referees

The editorial team would like to thank all the people who help maintain the quality of papers in EBD by acting as reviewers.

The following guidelines for referees are to help improve the speed of processing manuscripts, thereby reducing the time between EBD receiving the manuscript and reaching a publishing decision. Although the notes are intended to be of more use to new referees, existing referees may also find them helpful. For convenience, the notes have been divided into three stages.

Stage 1: What you should receive from EBD?

You should receive the following:

  • an e-mail inviting you to review the manuscript (with the abstract) and a link to enable you to accept/decline the review
  • once you accept the review request, you are then able to access the manuscript, reviewer instructions and reviewer form via our online system.

Authors are concerned that papers are processed as quickly as possible, which means that we must ask our referees to be prompt in returning their report. If you are unable to meet the deadline, or feel unable to referee the manuscript, please decline the editor's invitation. If you would like to suggest an alternative referee please email quoting the MS number of the manuscript or include the suggestions when you decline the invitation.

Please remember that this manuscript is privileged information and remains the confidential property of the authors until it is published.

Stage 2: Refereeing the paper

Please check the manuscript for the following:

  • Does the title represent the aims and conclusions?
  • Is the title accurate?
  • Are the contents of the manuscript relevant?
  • Is the manuscript accurate, and are the sections the right length?
  • Does the manuscript follow the PRISMA framework?
  • Is the manuscript concise?
  • Are the tables and references relevant, or are there too many?

You do not need to check grammar, spelling and style, although comments are always welcome. If you cannot understand any part of the manuscript, then please comment on this.

Stage 3: Submitting your report

When you enter your report it helps the authors if you can itemise points such as (1), (2), (3) etc. This enables authors to make corrections to their manuscripts and then return it for checking. If you wish to make general comments then please add these in paragraphs before and/or after the itemised points.

All comments are confidential, so your name will not be sent to the authors or other referees.

If you would like to become an EBD referee or have any questions regarding the review process, please contact us via

Conflicts of interest

In order to ensure fairness in the referee process, we try to avoid referees who: have recent or ongoing collaborations with the authors, have commented on drafts of the manuscript, are in direct competition, have a history of dispute with the authors, or have a financial interest in the outcome. As it is not possible for the Editor to know of all possible biases, we ask referees to draw our attention to anything that might affect their report, including commercial interests, and to decline to referee in cases where they feel unable to be objective. We do not find it necessary to exclude referees who have reviewed a paper for another journal; the fact that two journals have independently identified a particular person as well qualified to referee a paper does not decrease the validity of his/her opinion in our view.

Publication policy and ethical considerations

In spite of our best efforts to identify breaches of publication policy or ethical conduct, such as plagiarism or author conflict of interest, the referees who are more familiar with the field are more likely to recognise such problems and should alert the Editor to any potential problems in this regard.