The NYMHCA Journal of Clinical Counseling
Reviewer Selection Criteria
Reviewers for the NYMHCA Journal of Clinical Counseling will be primarily considered on the basis of the content of the articles. Reviewers should be knowledgeable about the key concepts in the article. Reviews which are accepted may be revised by the editing staff for length, clarity, and style.
Reviewers are expected to return their reviews within three weeks, unless otherwise specified by the editors. The author may request an extension from the editor, if needed.
The following guidelines are based on the adopted standards in publications in our field:
Review Content: There are two basic components to the review of a scientific manuscript: (1) Scientific content, and (2) Quality of the presentation. Either or both of these can be grounds for rejection of the submission and both should be considered within the review.
Scientific content: although there can be no simple formula for what is acceptable scientific content, there are some basic principles that generally apply. The standards for a manuscript depend somewhat on the category of submission, but there are some general guidelines.
References in support of an assertion. Generally, references are used to provide support for assertions within a paper. There is no simple way to determine what assertions do or do not require substantiation. It is within the purview of a reviewer to request references if the reviewer believes a reference is needed where none was provided. The use of "principal source" references (e.g., the original source of information) is encouraged whenever possible. Generally, refereed publications are more acceptable for this purpose than unrefereed material. Thus, if the author uses an unrefereed reference, this may not be considered acceptable support. The availability of unrefereed manuscripts is a major issue with their use in support of an assertion within the manuscript, and the author can be asked to provide a copy of such to the reviewer. Speculation. For the most part, speculation in a scientific manuscript is not acceptable. Speculation is defined as an unsubstantiated assertion or hypothesis. Very limited speculation is possible but it should be confined to the end of a manuscript, within a "discussion" of the paper’s content or areas of future research, and it should be identified clearly as speculation. Significance of results. Whenever possible, authors are expected to analyze the statistical significance of their calculations. The use of statistical analysis to assess the confidence that can be placed on a calculation based on real data is essential to any scientific paper. Generally, failure to provide statistical analysis of results is not acceptable. Sample size is an important aspect of statistical confidence limits and small samples need to be identified as such. Verification of forecasting schemes should be as extensive as possible and any limitations to the credibility of a verification analysis, such as failing to consider false alarms, or correct predictions of nonevents, need to be identified. Reproducibility. It should be possible for anyone reading the manuscript to reproduce the results. The manuscript, therefore, should provide any and all information necessary for a reader to repeat any analysis contained therein. Any withholding of needed information is unacceptable. However, it is acceptable to use references to accomplish this. To the maximum extent possible consistent with a concise presentation, a manuscript should be self-contained. Extensive mathematical derivations can be moved to an Appendix. Large datasets and detailed software information need not be provided, although it is encouraged to make software and data available whenever possible, perhaps by the World Wide Web or in an unrefereed technical paper. Proof. Reviewers should recognize that in a formal sense, "proof" of scientific ideas is never possible. Proof is feasible in pure mathematics, but it not possible in science that uses experimental data or observations in support of ideas. Thus, it is not appropriate for a reviewer to ask for proof, unless it refers to mathematical issues. Rather, it is appropriate to review how convincing the supporting analysis is in terms of accepting some hypothesis. The rigor of the test is the primary means of judging how convincing the evidence is. Data sample size, accuracy and precision of the data, and the degree to which the data permit an unambiguous interpretation all are part of a convincing argument. Thus, these are all fair issues for a reviewer to consider when reviewing the scientific content. Of course, for mathematical content, the logic must follow the appropriate rules without error, including such issues as the existence and uniqueness of solutions. Relevance for the NYMHCA Journal of Clinical Counseling. It is not up to the reviewer to assess the relevance of a manuscript for publication in NYMHCA Journal of Clinical Counseling. Originality. It is our belief that papers reproducing already published work may or may not be acceptable. If the manuscript simply reproduces the results of an already published work with no change and adds nothing else, this is probably not acceptable. In some cases, it is valuable to the community if a particular piece of work can be confirmed. In particular, if the analysis methods of an already published work are reproduced, but with a different set of data, or an expanded data set, this is quite likely to be acceptable. Comparisons with existing work. To the maximum extent possible, comparisons within a manuscript with already published work should be as unambiguous as possible. If a comparison with previous work is made, the same definitions should be used, as well as the same data. If it is felt that the definitions and/or data of an existing work have problems, then a comparison with that existing work should be done both with the original definitions and/or data, as well as with the changed definitions and/or data.