At FACETS we believe that peer review is the backbone of open access publishing.

We are grateful to everyone who volunteers their time and expertise as a reviewer for FACETS .  Below find guidelines to serve as an introduction for new reviewers, and a reference for experienced reviewers.


FACETS is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary open access science journal published by Canadian Science Publishing. FACETS publishes primarily research articles, but also publishes review articles, communications, notes, comments, perspectives, editorials, and science applications forum papers. FACETS focusses on seven research areas: Biological and Life Sciences; Biomedical and Health Sciences; Earth and Environmental Sciences; Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics; Integrative Sciences (including topics such as science and policy, and science communication); Data Science; and Physical Sciences. Although not officially covering Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) topics, the Integrative Sciences section includes work at the intersection of science and the social sciences. Additional subject categories will be added as the journal evolves in conjunction with emerging scientific advances.

Research published in FACETS must conform to ethical standards of experimentation and research integrity. Authors must also show evidence of advancing knowledge. Reviewers are referred to the FACETS Publishing policy and Instructions to authors for more information.

Before reviewing

Upon receiving an email invitation to peer review, potential reviewers should read it carefully for details about the article under consideration: title, author list, abstract, and peer review deadline. Before accepting or declining the invitation, they should consider:

  • Expertise. e.g., Reviewers should have sufficient knowledge of the area of research covered by the manuscript to effectively evaluate it. If they feel qualified to assess only one aspect of the paper, they should explain that to the editor before accepting, and note it in the Confidential Comments to the Editor if they do review the paper.
  • Time commitment. A reviewer who is unable to complete the review of a paper in an appropriate time frame should notify the journal editorial office and agree on a new deadline, or decline to review the paper.
  • Objectivity. Potential reviewers with conflicts of interest or biases that would prevent fair assessment of the paper under consideration (e.g., the authors are colleagues or competitors) should decline the invitation.

Potential reviewers who decline the invitation to peer review but are aware of other people in the field who would be suitable should suggest alternative reviewer(s) to the editor.

Note that reviews of manuscripts and correspondence directly related to the manuscripts under review are administered through the online peer review system .

Peer review responsibilities

Rigorous peer review relies on everyone involved behaving responsibly and ethically. FACETS is a member of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), and we encourage reviewers to become familiar with their Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers , as well as with the core responsibilities outlined below.


Peer review should be objective, impartial, and fair. Reviewers have a responsibility to:

  • Agree to peer review only those papers they feel qualified to evaluate,
  • Agree to peer review only those papers for which they have no competing interests that could compromise a fair assessment (e.g., collaboration, competition, or antipathy with the authors; profiting from the work),
  • Assess papers based on merit, not personal bias (e.g., gender, ethnicity, age, affiliations, country, prestige),
  • Disclose in their Confidential Comments to the Editors any competing interests or personal biases that arise during peer review,
  • Focus comments on the science, not the scientist (i.e., no inflammatory, derogatory, or libelous personal comments), AND
  • Raise important issues in their first review of an article, i.e., re-reviews should not introduce new revision comments unless absolutely necessary.

Research and reporting ethics

Peer review should establish whether the work was conducted ethically. Peer reviewers have a responsibility to:

  • Report in their Confidential Comments to the Editors if they suspect author misconduct, supplying evidence if possible. Such instances might include duplicate submission, image manipulation, data manipulation or fabrication, undeclared author conflicts of interest, plagiarism, or salami-slicing (i.e., when data from one research project are broken into least publishable units and are reported in separate papers rather than coherently in one paper or series).


Peer review should provide expert and timely feedback. Peer reviewers have a responsibility to:

  • Agree to peer review only those papers they can assess within the deadline or to renegotiate an alternative deadline with the editor before agreeing to review, AND
  • Advise the journal’s editorial office if their review will be delayed, and by how much.

Confidentiality and anonymity

FACETS use single-anonymous peer review, so it is important that both the manuscripts under review and peer reviewer names remain confidential.

  • Manuscripts are considered confidential while in peer review. Reviewers should hold in confidence manuscripts they are sent, destroying any copies should they decline to review or once their reviews are complete.
  • Reviewers should not use information gained in peer review to their own advantage, e.g., by using findings from unpublished articles in their own research.
  • To waive anonymity , reviewers may sign their Comments to the Authors, in which case both authors and co-reviewers will see their name.
  • To remain anonymous , reviewers should ensure that their comments, and any review files they upload (including annotated manuscript PDFs), do not inadvertently disclose their name or initials.
  • Reviewers should never communicate directly with an author unless agreed upon by the editor.
  • Reviewers may disclose having reviewed for a journal, but they may not specify the manuscript or the contents of their review, either before or after peer review is complete.
  • If the editor has agreed, reviewers may co-review with a colleague or trainee. However, the primary reviewer is expected to ensure that others understand the confidentiality of peer review, independently assess the manuscript, approve the final comments, and disclose the co-reviewer’s participation in the Confidential Comments to the Editor.

Integrity of the content

Peer review should establish if the work is reliable and potentially reproducible. Peer reviewers have a responsibility to:

  • Evaluate the science according to appropriateness of the methodology, completeness and accuracy of the data, and interpretation of the results, AND
  • Assess the completeness of the research reporting, referring to reporting guideline checklists if appropriate to the study design (see EQUATOR Network ).


Peer review should be constructive and helpful, benefitting both authors and editors. Peer reviewers have a responsibility to:

  • Help authors improve their work and help editors make a decision,
  • Write Comments to the Authors that are clear, specific, and constructive, AND
  • Support comments with evidence (citations or supporting arguments), so that authors and editors understand the basis of the comments.

About English language improvement

Reviewers are not expected to correct spelling and grammar unless it confuses the science. If language use is poor, reviewers should recommend a language service rather than do the work themselves. If language use is so poor that the science cannot be fairly evaluated, reviewers should advise the journal editorial office and suspend their review. As a content expert, reviewer’s primary role is to judge the science.



The reviewer scorecard asks reviewers to consider the following questions and to input responses within the online peer review system.

  1. Is the information presented technically sound?
  2. Does the information presented demonstrate evidence of advancing knowledge?
  3. Is the title informative and limited to what is documented?
  4. Does the abstract reflect the essentials of the methodology and findings?
  5. Is the introduction limited to the purpose, scope, and rationale of the study?
  6. Are sufficient methodological details given such that the study can be repeated by others?
  7. Are the results clearly and succinctly presented?
  8. Are there inconsistencies between tables or figures and the text, or within the text?
  9. Are all the tables and figures necessary and is the text of appropriate length?
  10. Is the discussion limited to interpreting the data and explaining its significance?
  11. Are the interpretations and conclusions sound and adequately supported by the data?
  12. Are the cited references complete and appropriate?
  13. Are there any errors in technique, calculation, interpretation, presentation, or style?
  14. Does this manuscript report data or conclusions already published or in press?
  15. Have the authors described the safeguards used to meet both formal and informal standards of ethical conduct of research for the specific field of study? (e.g., approval of a research protocol by an institutional committee, procurement of informed consent, adherence to codes of ethical conduct for the treatment of human or animal subjects, maintenance of confidentiality of personal data on patients, procedures for studying endangered animals, field research permits, and research on only legally obtained archaeological and paleontological artifacts or specimens deposited in an accessible, permanent repository, etc.).

Comments to the Authors

Comments to the author should be clear, specific, and constructive, listing what the authors need to do to improve the article. It is helpful to number review comments, specifying areas in the text using the page and line numbering on the PDF proof.

  • Major issues are problems that must be addressed for the manuscript to proceed.
  • Minor issues are problems that do not affect the findings or conclusions. These include anything that is unsupported, inaccurate, or unclear.

Confidential Comments to the Editor

Reviewers are not required to supply Confidential Comments to the Editor, and there is no need to paste Comments to the Authors in this field. However, the Confidential Comments to the Editor can be a good place for reviewers to:

  • explain the reasons for the decision recommendation provided;
  • disclose if they were unable to assess certain aspects of the paper (e.g., statistics, a certain method);
  • mention whether they think the paper is a good fit for the journal (i.e., within scope and of interest to its readers);
  • disclose the name of any colleague or trainee who assisted with the review;
  • disclose any personal biases or conflicts of interest that became apparent while reviewing;
  • inform the editor if they suspect ethical problems with the paper or misconduct on the part of the author(s) (e.g., undeclared competing interests); OR
  • provide detailed reasons if they deem the work worthy of publicity, either to the general public, or to specialists in the relevant field(s) of study.


Reviewers are asked to make a recommendation by selecting from a fixed-choice list of decisions:

  • Accept as is
  • Return for minor revisions
  • Return for major revisions
  • Reject
We are grateful for the voluntary efforts of peer reviewers

Each year, the Editors of Canadian Science Publishing’s journals recognize peer reviewers who have consistently provided our journals with timely, comprehensive, and discerning reviews.

Outstanding reviewers
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