Editorial Criteria

Rigorous yet fair review. Judge the soundness of the science, not its importance.

Basic Reporting
  • The submission must adhere to all PeerJ policies (see: 'Journal Policies').
  • Poorly written manuscripts will be returned to the author.
  • The article must be written in English and must use clear, unambiguous, technically correct text. The article must conform to professional standards of courtesy and expression.
  • The article should include sufficient introduction and background to demonstrate how the work fits into the broader field of knowledge. Relevant prior literature should be appropriately referenced.
  • The structure of the submitted article should conform to an acceptable format of ‘standard sections’ (see our Instructions for Authors for our suggested format). Significant departures in structure should be made only if they significantly improve clarity or conform to a discipline-specific custom.
  • Figures should be relevant to the content of the article, of sufficient resolution, and appropriately described and labeled.
  • The submission should be ‘self-contained,’ should represent an appropriate ‘unit of publication’, and should include all results relevant to the hypothesis. Coherent bodies of work should not be inappropriately subdivided merely to increase publication count.
  • Formal results should include clear definitions of all terms and theorems, and detailed proofs.
Experimental Design
  • The submission must describe original primary research within the Aims & Scope of the Journal.
  • The submission should clearly define the research question, which must be relevant and meaningful. The knowledge gap being investigated should be identified, and statements should be made as to how the study contributes to filling that gap.
  • The investigation must have been conducted rigorously and to a high technical standard.
  • Methods should be described with sufficient information to be reproducible by another investigator.
  • The research must have been conducted in conformity with the prevailing ethical standards in the field.
Validity of the Findings
  • The conclusions should be appropriately stated, should be connected to the original question investigated, and should be limited to those supported by the results.
  • Speculation is welcomed, but should be identified as such.
  • Decisions are not made based on any subjective determination of impact, degree of advance, novelty, being of interest to only a niche audience, etc.
  • Replication experiments are encouraged (provided the rationale for the replication, and how it adds value to the literature, is clearly described); however, we do not allow the ‘pointless’ repetition of well known, widely accepted results.
  • Where data are used:
    • The data should be robust, statistically sound, and controlled.
    • The data on which the conclusions are based must be provided or made available in an acceptable discipline-specific repository.
  • For theoretical results, the traditional standards of proof – clarity, consistency, correctness, etc. – should be applied.
  • Negative / inconclusive results are acceptable.