Information for Reviewers

Ethics Policies for Reviewers

Ethics policies for reviewers are listed on the LiveCoMS ethics policy page. We encourage reviewers to acquaint themselves with these policies.

The LiveCoMS Review Process

  • LiveCoMS uses anonymous reviewer / disclosed author reviews. Reviewers do not directly interact, though are shown other reviewers notes in subsequent revision.

  • Editors mediate all interactions between reviewers and authors, and peer reviews are not currently published.

  • Peer review is to evaluate the quality, relevance, and merit of submitted papers. Comments should be as complete and detailed as possible and contain clear opinions about strengths, weaknesses, relevance, and importance to the field. Comments should be specific and constructive and suggestions should be intended to enhance the manuscript.

  • Before sending manuscripts for review, a lead editor of the relevant LiveCoMS section will have responded favorably to a presubmission inquiry and then checked that the submitted manuscript indeed conforms to what was originally proposed.

  • A LiveCoMS editor will also have checked that the manuscript appears to be reasonably well edited and ready for review. Given this preparation, LiveCoMS asks that reviewers respond promptly to review requests and take immediate action on reviewing manuscripts; typically we ask that reviews be returned within 15 days.

Review Process

  • Upon receiving an assignment, Reviwers should declare all potential competing, or conflicting, interests. If you are unsure about a potential competing interest that may prevent you from reviewing, do raise this with the editor. Competing interests may be personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious in nature. If you are currently employed at the same institution as any of the authors or have been recent (eg, within the past 3 years) mentors, mentees, close collaborators or joint grant holders, you should not agree to review. In addition, you should not agree to review a manuscript just to gain sight of it with no intention of submitting a review, or agree to review a manuscript that is very similar to one you have in preparation or under consideration at another journal. Given the closeness of the field, we judge close collaborations leniently - for example, co-authorship on a review with many authors would not necessarily disqualify a reviewer. A definition of conflict of interest is laid out in section III of the LiveCoMS bylaws.

  • It is important to remain unbiased by considerations related to the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, origins of a manuscript or by commercial considerations. If you discover a competing interest that might prevent you from providing a fair and unbiased review, notify the journal and seek advice

  • The review process is in general similar to typical journals, in that we seek to ensure manuscripts are of high quality and will provide significant benefits to the field. However, we do also have specific review criteria and we ask reviewers to make sure they are aware of these, including category-specific review criteria relevant to the particular category of article. Look in each section for the bullet pointed list of review criteria to consider, and respond to each of the relevant points specifically.

  • One unique aspect of the LiveCoMS review process is the opportunity to engage with authors publicly rather than anonymously if you so desire. Specifically, if you (as a reviewer) are interested in participating public discussion of the work and helping to improve it, you are free to comment on the issue tracker connected to the GitHub repository associated with the article, which can be a way to work together with the community to help authors improve their article. If you choose to do this, you should cross-reference GitHub comments in your review for LiveCoMS in an unambiguous way so the author knows exactly what needs to be addressed. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, we suggest refraining from leaving GitHub comments near the time of your review, as the author will likely be able to guess your identity from the comments.

  • Authors are also encouraged to have other researchers review their content, with comments and responses handled via the article’s GitHub issue tracker. A history of revisions in response to community concerns will impact the review process favorably.

  • Reviewers will assess whether articles are well edited and clearly written. Authors whose article uses inconsistent style or poor grammar, or is poorly edited, will be asked to revise and address these issues.

Reviewer form

The reviewer form asks the following open response questions to be filled in. The reviewer may also copy the questions to a separate document, respond to them there, and attach the responses.

  • What is the level of significance of this work and its suitability for the journal? Is it likely to have a strong positive impact on the targeted set of readers? If this is a revision, what is the significance of the updated material?

  • To what extent does the article engage with current understanding in the scholarly community? If this is a revision, to what extent do the authors engage with the community participating on their GitHub version?
  • In what ways should the paper be improved to be easy to read, free from grammatical errors, have a professional presentation, and meet the article formatting guidelines laid out in the author policies (at

  • How does the article address the specific reviewer criteria for each article type? These criteria are listed in the sections for author policies for Best Practices, Perpetual Reviews, Tutorials, Software Analyses, and Lessons Learned.

  • Please provide any other specific comments for the authors.

  • Please enter any specific comments you have for the editor? (The response to this question will not be seen by the authors)

The reviewer will then provide a recommendation as a multiple choice response: The responses are: “Accept Submissions”, “Revisions Required”, and “Resubmit for Review”, “Resubmit Elsewhere”, or “Decline Submission”