Peer Review Guidelines and Ethics

BCPHR Peer Review Process

Once articles are submitted, the managing editor conducts an initial review to ensure the manuscript meets all submission guidelines.

  • It is then assigned to an associate editor who reads the piece to ensure it aligns with the mission and vision of the journal and is worthy of additional review.
  • The associate editor then sends it to a minimum of 2 peer reviewers, providing an appropriate window of time for reviews to provide substantive commentary on the manuscript.
  • Reviewers are expected to review manuscripts and comment on selected journal criteria, such as:
    • Relevance, contribution, and timeliness to scholarly literature
    • Strength of arguments
    • Overall written professionalism, language, flow
    • Research methodology
    • Objectivity
    • Clarity and coherence
  • Reviewers make a recommendation regarding acceptance, revise/resubmit, or rejection. In the event that there is a split decision, the associate editor may request an additional review from another peer reviewer or conduct the review themselves.
  • The associate editors sends their final recommendation based on the peer reviews to the editors-in-chief who make final decisions regarding the decision for the manuscript. 
Peer Review Process

Vetting Peer Reviewers

BCPHR‘s maintains a pool of several hundred peer reviewers, all experts in clinical and behavioral medicine and/or public health. All are heavily vetted and trained to ensure the highest quality assessments, ensuring that each submission aligns with BCPHR‘s mission and vision (scope and aims).

All peer reviewers must:

  1. Complete the BCPHR Reviewer and Editor Form, indicating and justifying their areas of subject matter expertise.
  2. Completion of an BCPHR on-boarding training.

  3. Completion of Science’s “Focus on Peer Review” training. 

  4. Submission of three peer reviews of three sample articles.

While extensive, this selection process ensures that BCPHR Journal editors have access to optimal guidance in selecting articles for publication. It also ensures that all authors receive the best feedback to improve their piece, even in those instances where a submission is rejected.

Reviewers are obliged to abide by the principles and standards described below, which align with the Committee on Publication Ethics Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers, which also provides further information producing objective and constructive reviews. Peer reviewers who join BCPHR acknowledge and agree to these conditions. 

Peer reviewers who submit at least 4 exemplary reviews may be invited and/or inquire about joining the BCPHR Editorial Board. New editorial board members generally start as associate editors and then work their way to the senior ranks of deputy and managing editor. 

Extensive details about becoming an editor and reviewer are available here

Conflicts of Interest

Peer reviewers are required to declare all known and/or potentially conflicting or competing interests (e.g. personal, scholarly, financial, intellectual, professional, political, religious, etc.). This ensures that articles can be assigned to impartial reviewers. Peer reviewers are asked to immediately notify the editor in charge of the manuscript in the event of any objections or conflicts of interest. They also are expressly forbidden from accepting a review to gain an edge in the science without the intention to submit a review.  


Manuscripts are the authors’ private, confidential property. Peer reviewers are expected to keep manuscripts and the information they contain strictly confidential. If you do choose to discuss the manuscript and/or your review with a professional colleague whose input you request as part of your review process, you are responsible for ensuring that they are made fully aware of the confidential nature of the discussion and that they must not disclose any information about the manuscript until the article is published. The identity of any co-reviewer and any potential conflicting or competing interests they may have must be disclosed when submitting your review. Reviewers should not retain the manuscript for personal use and should destroy copies after submitting their review.


Peer reviewers must accept only manuscripts that they know they can return within the proposed or agreed-upon time-frame. If they are unable to provide a review, they are invited to suggest alternate reviewers, based on their expertise and apart from any personal influence or benefit.  

Scientific Misconduct

Peer reviewers are required to indicate any concerns about potential misconduct by authors in relation to research or writing and submission of the manuscript. These concerns may include: 

  • Similarity to manuscripts submitted and/or published at BCPHR and other journals
  • Suspected concurrent submission or submission of a previously published article
  • Improper or ethical methods and analysis
  • Plagiarism

In the event of these or other concerns, peer reviewers are to alert the editor reviewing the manuscript. The editor, in turn, will contact BCPHR‘s editors-in-chief, who will conduct an investigation of any misconduct and confer with the authors to clear up any matters.

BCPHR immediately rejects all articles suspected or confirmed scientific misconduct. 

Appropriate Feedback

Peer reviewers are expected to provide unbiased, expert assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript, offering clear feedback toward its improvement. In addition to guidance to strengthening a manuscript, reviewers are invited to submit in depth markup of reviewed articles.    

Critiques must provide specific guidance, such as indicating where authors need to provide additional and/or ore up-t0-date references.

Language should be professional, supportive, and insightful. Defamation, hostile language, and other inflammatory language are expressly forbidden. 

AI Use

Peer reviewers are welcome to leverage AI to augment their review of pieces; however, they must indicate so in their note to the editor and authors. Content and identifying details from the articles themselves should be processed in AI tools, however, to preserve the confidentiality of authors’ work.  

Ownership of Reviews

Peer reviewers maintain ownership of their reviews and are encourage to report them via Publons/ORCID.  Submitting your review to BCPHR indicates agreement to license your work to us in selecting articles for publication in the Journal

Open Peer Review

BCPHR reviews are single-blind, meaning that authors have access to authors’ details, but authors do not know who served as their peer reviewer. All peer review feedback, including manuscript markups, is provided to the authors at the time of author notification. 


All author and peer review queries are submitted via Scholastica to to the author managing the manuscript. Authors and peer reviewers should not communicate directly.

Peer reviewers are to contact the editor overseeing the piece in the event of any potential publication ethics concerns. 

BCPHR Use of Review

As noted previously, peer reviewers’ identities are kept confidential. The entirety of their reviews are forwarded in their entirety to the authors, with the exception of any private comments and/or concerns shared with the editor.

Peer reviews are expected to be civil and constructive; editors reserve the right to edit or remove inappropriate commentary.  

Authors are given the option of identifying potential peer reviewers for their submissions. These suggested reviewers must be appropriate subject matter experts and may not be close colleagues and/or other persons with potential conflicts of interest. BCPHR reserves the right to accept or ignore these suggested reviewers. 

Restrictions on Use of Peer Reviews

We do not restrict the use you make of your review once the manuscript has been published. However, an author’s manuscript remains confidential until it is published, and you must not disclose any information about an unpublished manuscript, including your review of it.

Please note that if the article is NOT published you may refer to the journal which requested your review and the fact that you have reviewed an article for it. However, you may not post any details of the article which was reviewed, or any part of the review that would breach the confidentiality under which the article was provided to you for review.

Registration Detail Privacy

Peer reviewers’ details are maintained in Scholastica, the platform used for managing manuscripts, peer reviews, and author notifications.  Peer reviewers have a profile on Scholastica that includes their name, subject matter expertise, and organizational affilitation. If you ever wish to opt-out, email us at [email protected] and your profile on Scholastica will be removed. 

Contact Information

To reach BCPHR staff, contact us at: 

Boston Congress of Public Health
Publisher of BCPH Review
5511  Hollywood Boulevard, Suite 1040
Hollywood, CA 90028 
[email protected]