When a paper is under peer review, the Deep Science system intelligently recommends 10 reviewers based on the content of the paper. The author of the paper can choose two reviewers to proceed the review (including two reviewers recommended by the author himself/herself). If two review reports are conflicting, a third reviewer will be invited. After confirming the reviewer, the system will inform the reviewer via email.
After reviewers are selected, they will receive an email from the Deep Science system. The reviewer can open the article link in email and check the full paper on Deep Science. He/she can then agree or disagree the review. If yes, the reviewers’ identity (names and institutions can be hidden, but his/her area of research will be displayed) will be immediately displayed on the open review area of the paper.
After the review report is completed and screened by Deep Science editor, the review report can be made public. The identities of the reviewers can be visible or invisible, depending on reviewers’ setting in their dashboard.
The primary purpose of the peer-review process at Deep Science is to provide an in-depth analysis of a scientific study to help authors improve their paper by strengthening the rigor of the work and the clarity of the presentation.
Deep Science also requests reviewers to assess how the study advances the field rather than establishing its fit for a particular journal. The reviews should be scholarly in tone and content will be made public (by default without referee names) unless the authors opt out. As such, reviews should also be useful to all potential readers to better understand the work and its context and to journal editors to make informed decisions.
Deep Science referee reports are expected to be scholarly communications intended to advance scientific discourse. Authors can make reviews public, either at the stage of author-requested posting of a Refereed Preprint (the term for the paper, reviews, and author response posted on Deep Science) or at the stage of journal publication. Please provide a clear, professional and impartial analysis that you would employ if you were signing the review, even if you are not (signing of reports is encouraged but not required by Deep Science). Be mindful of potential sources of bias with regard to the authors, including gender, ethnicity, geographical location, seniority, reputation in your field of expertise. The Managing Editor has the right to exclude reviews that are deemed unprofessional in tone or content. Hallmarks of a good referee report are:
• Timely delivery.
• Critical and impartial analysis with substantiated arguments.
• Constructive and realistic suggestions.
Deep Science recommends including the following components in referee reports:
1. Evidence, reproducibility and clarity
Provide a short summary of the findings and key conclusions (including methodology and model system(s) where appropriate). Please place your comments about significance in section 2.
• Are the key conclusions convincing?
• Should the authors qualify some of their claims as preliminary or speculative, or remove them altogether?
• Would additional experiments be essential to support the claims of the paper? Request additional experiments only where necessary for the paper as it is, and do not ask authors to open new lines of experimentation.
• Are the suggested experiments realistic in terms of time and resources? It would help if you could add an estimated cost and time investment for substantial experiments.
• Are the data and the methods presented in such a way that they can be reproduced?
• Are the experiments adequately replicated and statistical analysis adequate?
• Specific experimental issues that are easily addressable.
• Are prior studies referenced appropriately?
• Are the text and figures clear and accurate?
• Do you have suggestions that would help the authors improve the presentation of their data and conclusions?
• Describe the nature and significance of the advance (e.g. conceptual, technical, clinical) for the field.
• Place the work in the context of the existing literature (provide references, where appropriate).
• State what audience might be interested in and influenced by the reported findings.
• Define your field of expertise with a few keywords to help the authors contextualize your point of view. Indicate if there are any parts of the paper that you do not have sufficient expertise to evaluate.
Deep Science referee reports do not include ‘confidential comments to the editors’. In case of potential ethical breaches or data integrity issues, please contact the editors directly.
By default, the identity of the referees will not be communicated to the authors, unless a reviewer explicitly decides to sign their report, which they are welcome to do.
All referees must agree to disclose their names to any affiliate journals and to have their comments posted on a preprint server and/or as part of the transparent review process at a Deep Science affiliated journal. Referee names will only be posted if a referee elects to sign their reports.
Deep Science will avoid inviting referees who have recent or ongoing collaborations with the authors, are or will be engaged in similar research, have commented on drafts of the manuscript, are in direct competition, work in the same department or institution, have a personal relationship, have a history of dispute with the authors, or have a financial or personal interest in the outcome. Because it is not possible for the editors to know of all possible biases, however, 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 and impartial. Previous review of a version of the submitted study elsewhere does not a priori exclude re-review by the same referees, unless they feel predisposed against the work.
Referees should maintain strict confidentiality on all aspects of the review process and keep the following guidelines in mind:
Manuscripts reviewed for Deep Science that are not yet publicly available as preprint should not be discussed with anyone not directly involved in the review process. If experts from outside the referee's own laboratory are consulted, referees should check with the editors beforehand to avoid involving anyone who may have been excluded by the editor.
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 recognize such problems and should alert the editors to any potential problems in this regard. If preferred, this can be done outside the formal peer review form.
Deep Science reserves the right to reject manuscripts at any point if ethical, biosecurity, or scientific integrity issues arise.