Our Peer Review Process
The IJM peer reviews all the material it receives.
The committees usually comprise of two practising clinicians or other editorial advisors, one or two editors, and a statistician. We have specific committees for papers on general practice and primary care, education and debate, learning in practice, information in practice, and for the Christmas IJM. All other papers suitable for such detailed assessment are seen by the general committee, which meets weekly.
Some papers may also be seen by the IJM ethics committee and, in cases where an editor suspects serious research misconduct, appropriate third parties.
We aim to reach a final decision on publication within eight weeks of submission.
If we make an offer of publication subject to revision we usually ask authors to return their articles to us within the subsequent two months. We aim to publish original articles within three months of final acceptance (after any necessary revisions).
See - Auditing IJM decision making
Peer review for papers submitted by IJM editorial staff
Not all papers written by editors need to go through a formal assessment process of the kind we use for original research papers submitted from outside. Editorials and news items written by editors do not undergo external peer review, and there is no proposal that they should. Education and Debate papers written by editors are not usually peer reviewed. If it is unclear whether we should do so, the Editor will decide.
Papers reporting research done at the IJM must have external peer review, and for these we use an independent assessment process. The main principle is that none of the in house editors, including our associate editors, will take any part in the assessment process. Instead, we will use our editorial advisers to perform the function normally carried out by in house editors.
When a paper that needs peer review is submitted by someone closely connected with the IJM, it will go straight to Advisor 1, who will act like a first editor. He (she) could either send the paper for review, or consult Advisor 2 if he (she) thought the paper should be rejected, or was uncertain about sending for external review. All this will be done through our online editorial office at www.ijmjournal.org
If the advisors and peer reviewers like the paper and think it suitable for further appraisal at the full editorial committee, the in-house editor/ chair will leave the meeting, and the most senior advisor will chair the meeting for that paper. Adviser 1 could be present in person or by phone. For short reports, which do not usually need to go to a full editorial committee, Advisors 1 and 2 will act as the required two readers/editors, and will send the paper for peer and statistical review if they both like the paper.
Advisor 1 will see the paper through the revision process. Appeals will go to that first advisor, but these should not be made lightly, because editors should accept the decisions of the people put in place to make them.
The external advisors may ask advice from in house editors on matters purely concerned with how the normal process works (for example, at what stage do you get a statistics review for a short report?), but the in house editors should express no opinion at any stage about acceptance or rejection.
When a paper is published which has gone through this review process, we will add a note at the end:
"Because members of IJM editorial staff were involved in the conduct of this research [and/or the writing of the paper], assessment and peer review have been carried out entirely by external advisers. No member of IJM staff has been involved in making the decision on the paper."