Guidelines for Reviewers
The peer review process of the Journal of Hospital General Medicine is dependent on the professionalism of its volunteer reviewers. All reviewers are experts in the field of research; therefore, they are in the best position to judge the quality and importance of the work submitted to the Journal of Hospital General Medicine. The names of the reviewers will remain anonymous to the authors, as the Journal of Hospital General Medicine operates a single-anonymized review throughout the review process.
I. Peer Review Process
1. The author submits a manuscript, and this will receive a unique identification number.
2. The Editorial Office checks if the manuscript’s formatting and style is in accordance with the Instructions to Authors.
3. The Editor-in-Chief screens the manuscript and decides whether or not to send it for full peer review.
If the decision is not to send the manuscript for review, the Editor-in-Chief will send an e-mail to notify the author of rejection
4. If the Editor-in-Chief decides to send the manuscript for a full peer review, the Editor-in-Chief assigns an Associate Editor
who will be responsible for selecting external reviewers and evaluating the manuscript.
5. The Editor-in-Chief selects, in general, two reviewers to evaluate the manuscript.
6. Reviewers agree to review the manuscript.
7. Reviewers submit their review comments to the Associate Editor.
8. The Associate Editor reviews the reviewers’ reports and submits the review comments to the Editor-in-Chief.
9. The Editor-in-Chief reviews the reviewers’ and the Associate Editors’ reports and makes a final decision.
10. The Editorial Office sends a signed e-mail with the decision to the author.
11. If the author is given the opportunity to revise the paper, he/she revises the paper according to the review comments and resubmits.
The paper then goes through the same process above, but the Editor-in-Chief may choose to accept the paper without further review
by the reviewers.
The Journal of Hospital General Medicine expects that peer review be fair, unbiased, and timely. Decisions to accept or reject a manuscript for publication are based on the manuscript’s importance to the field, originality and clarity of expression, the study’s validity, and its relevance to the Journal of Hospital General Medicine’s aims and scope. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for all decisions made to the manuscripts.
The Journal of Hospital General Medicine supports and adheres to the guidelines and best practices including Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/) by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing (a joint statement by the Committee on Publication Ethics [COPE], the Directory of Open Access Journals [DOAJ], the World Association for Medical Editors [WAME], and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association [OASPA]; https://doaj.org/apply/transparency/).
The points below provide general guidelines for the peer review process. Please thoroughly read the instructions and required ethics and policy statements, along with the journal instructions. If you have any questions, please contact the Editorial Office of the Journal of Hospital General Medicine.
II. Ethical Responsibilities of Reviewers
Your review comments for new submissions are due in two (2) weeks from the day you agreed to review the manuscript. If you are unable to meet the deadline, please contact the Editorial Office immediately so that the editor can decide whether to extend the deadline or assign an alternate reviewer. Your review comments for revised manuscripts are also due in one (1) month from the day it was assigned to you.
2．Conflict of Interest for Reviewers
Any potential conflicts of interest as a reviewer of a manuscript must be brought to the attention of the editor before you begin the review process. If you are involved, in present or in the past, in any part of the research presented in the manuscripts, including but not limited to financial interests, collaborating with the authors, and other relationships or connections, both professional or personal, with any of the authors, companies, or institutions related to the manuscript, which might prevent you from providing a fair and unbiased review, you should decline the review task and inform the editor so that another individual can be invited to review the manuscript.
The review process will remain strictly confidential.
- Do not discuss or mention, in any way or to anyone, the contents of the paper before or after the review process.
- The manuscript submitted for peer-review is a privileged document. All materials must be treated in confidence. If additional advice from a colleague or any parties is thought to be helpful, please contact the Editorial Office in advance to obtain permission from the editor. Do not pass the manuscript on to your colleagues or other third parties without first obtaining the editor’s consent.
- Before publication, the research described in the paper should not be used as a reference in the reviewer’s own work. You must refrain from citing or referring to the work before its publication.
- Do not retain any copies of the reviewed manuscripts, and do not use their content or take scientific, financial, personal, or other advantage of material available to you through the peer review process.
- Do not upload the manuscript to software or any AI-assisted tools or technologies.
Provide objective and constructive feedback in your review to encourage the author to improve the paper and their writing. When you find negative aspects, suggest concrete means for improvement. Refrain from being hostile or inflammatory and from making derogatory personal comments.
Reviewer comments should be based on an impartial consideration of the facts, exclusive of personal or professional bias. All comments should be based solely on the paper’s scientific merit, originality, and quality of writing as well as on the relevance to the Journal of Hospital General Medicine’s scope and mission, without regard to race, ethnic origin, sex, religion, or citizenship of the authors. If you determine that you have a potential bias during the review of the paper, please notify the editor immediately.
You should accept an assignment only if you have adequate expertise to provide an authoritative assessment. If you think certain aspects of a manuscript are outside your field of expertise or realize that your expertise is limited, you should notify the Editorial Office so that we can decide whether you should continue and address your areas of expertise only, or whether to assign an alternate reviewer(s).
7．Manuscripts You Have Previously Handled
If you are invited to assess a manuscript you previously reviewed for another journal, please consider the manuscript as a new submission. In such case, the authors may have made changes according to the previous review comments, and the Journal of Hospital General Medicine’s criteria for evaluation may differ from those of the other journal.
Please note any suspicious evidence of unethical conduct and bring it to the attention of the editor immediately. Please see our general publication ethics policies here.
9．Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Assisted Tools/Technologies
Reviewers are prohibited from uploading the manuscript to software or AI-assisted tools/technologies where the confidentiality is not assured. It is required to disclose to the journal if any AI-assisted tools or technologies are used to facilitate the review.
III. Invitation for Peer Review
Reviewer invitations are sent by e-mail from the submission system. Use the links in the e-mail to accept or decline the invitation to review. The invitation includes manuscript details, such as the title, the names of authors, and the abstract, which may help you to determine whether the subject of the manuscript is within your areas of expertise.
If you are unable to agree to review a manuscript, please click the decline link in the e-mail. In such cases, it would be appreciated if you suggested another potential reviewer.
If you click the link to accept the invitation to review a manuscript, you will receive a notification via e-mail about how to log-in to our online system to access the manuscript in PDF or HTML format and instructions for submitting your comments through the online system.
2. Revised Manuscripts
The revised version of a manuscript is normally sent back to some or all of the original reviewers for re-review. If you are assigned to review a manuscript you previously reviewed, please ensure that revisions requested in your original review have been addressed in the revised manuscript. Please be careful not to raise additional, or new, issues that were not addressed in the previous review comments, and make sure to limit any new amendments or additions to points that respond to the comments.
IV. Your Comments
1. General Guidelines
- Evaluate whether the submitted manuscript fits the scope and aim of the Journal of Hospital General Medicine and demonstrates sufficient evidence of originality, in addition to the paper’s validity and potential impact to the readership of the Journal.
- Your review comments should indicate whether the writing is clear and concise and whether the style of writing and structure of the paper are appropriate, which will allow the readers to understand the content easily.
- Evaluate the work’s scientific accuracy and comment on any missing information or methodological flaws.
- All criticisms should be specific. Provide evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements to help editors in their evaluations and decisions and help authors with revisions.
- Any personal criticism against the authors, derogatory personal comments, or unfounded accusations must be avoided.
- Avoid making any negative comments or unjustified criticisms of any work that is mentioned in the manuscript.
- You should not suggest that the authors cite your work to increase your citation count. Suggestions must be based only on valid academic or technological reasons.
- Remain anonymous as the Journal operates a single-anonymized review process.
2. Points to Consider
Points to consider in your review include:
- Significance of the manuscript to the research community
- Interest and the potential impact to the broad readership of the Journal
- Weaknesses of the manuscript that need to be addressed in the revision process
- Accuracy of the title and abstract and keywords
- Sufficiency of contents, figures, and tables
- Appropriate and accurate references
- Quality and readability of the English language as presented in the manuscript
- Clarity of the aim
- Appropriate statistical analysis, if applicable
- Substantial data presented in the result section
- Conclusions supported by the data presented
3. Confidential Comments to the Editor
In the Journal of Hospital General Medicine’s peer review management system, there is a section titled “Confidential Comments to the Editor.” Your comments in this section will be seen only by the editors, as these will not be sent to the authors. If there are any possible conflicts of interest, ethical issues, or any other comment you wish not to share to the authors, please comment regarding them in this section.
4. Comments to the Authors
Your peer review comments should include an introductory paragraph, which states your overall impression of the paper. This paragraph should be followed by specific comments, which may be divided into two sections such as major and minor points. Your comments are sent to the author as a part of the decision letter. However, please keep in mind that it is inappropriate to include any statements related to the acceptance or rejection of the paper.
5. Decisions on Manuscript Publication
All decisions on the manuscript publication, which include acceptance, revisions or rejection, are made by the editors of the Journal of Hospital General Medicine after all the reviewer and editor reports are submitted and evaluated.
Editorial Board of the Journal of Hospital General Medicine follows the recommended procedures outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) International Standards for responsible research publication for authors and editorsd when dealing with allegations of misconduct.
All authors are fully responsible for the originality and contents of their submitted manuscripts. All records and data presented in the manuscripts must be accurate, without any research misconduct such as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism, or any other research or publication misconduct.
Any identified misconduct is subject to investigation by the Editorial Board of the Journal of Hospital General Medicine. All misconduct and breach of publication ethics, irrespective of the extent thereof, may result in retraction, publication of formal notice of the misconduct, and formal embargo on future contribution to the Journal of Hospital General Medicine.
I. Definitions of Publication Misconduct
Fabrication is inventing data or results of research and recording or reporting them with the intentional purpose of deception.
Falsification is defined as an inaccurate presentation of research results with the intention to give a false impression. This includes manipulation of research instrumentation, materials, and processes, changing, adding or omitting data, manipulating images, and omitting research results.
Scientific images for publication must be minimally processed. We understand that some image processing may be necessary. Adjustments, such as in brightness, contrast, or color, are permissible as long as these adjustments are applied to an entire image uniformly and do not selectively enhance, eliminate, or mispresent any elements in the original image, including the background.
Plagiarism is defined as the use of another person’s ideas, processes, results, words, or theories as if they were the author’s own, without giving appropriate credit. This involves any part of the manuscript, including the figures and tables. All information and content that originate from other resources must be credited and cited and included in the “References” section. Upon submission, the manuscript will be automatically checked for plagiarism by using plagiarism screening services or software to determine both text overlap and manuscript originality.
Redundant or Duplicate Publication
Articles that are being considered for publication in another journal, including advanced publications such as “in-press” or “E-pub ahead of print” articles, in any language, will be regarded as redundant or duplicate publication.
The Journal of Hospital General Medicine does not consider the deposition of manuscripts to not-for-profit preprint servers, such as bioRxiv and medRxiv, before submission to the Journal of Hospital General Medicine to be redundant or duplicate publication. When submitting manuscripts that have been posted in a preprint server, authors should notify the editor and provide information about preprint posting of the submitted manuscript, which include the digital object identifier (DOI) to the preprint version of their manuscript.
The author should notify the editor formally about all submissions, postings, and previous reports that could be regarded as redundant or which duplicate publication of the same or similar work when submitting a manuscript. Any such material must be referred to and referenced in the submitted work. Copies of such work should be included with the submission. Abstracts or posters presented at scientific meetings are not considered previously published work.
Editorial actions should be expected if redundant or duplicate publication is attempted or occurs without such notification. Editorial actions may include the following: immediate rejection of the submitted manuscript, retraction of published work, a published notice of violation, and revocation of publishing privileges in the journal.
Author’s Undisclosed Conflict of Interest (COI)
All authors are required to disclose any financial relations, activities, relationships, and affiliations that exist, or have existed which are related to the research presented, from the initial conception and planning to the completion of the research. This includes, but is not limited to, agreements for research support (including research funding and provision of equipment or materials), honoraria (such as lecture fees), consulting, employment, promotional fees, advisory or directing role, stock and share ownership, patent/licensing fees, travel and accommodation expenses, and any other financial, institutional, or personal relationships with any commercial organizations, groups, institutions, or any other entities that have any interest in the subject matter, materials, or process(es) discussed in the manuscript. Any possible COI related to the study presented in the manuscript must be disclosed in the manuscript under the heading “Conflicts of Interest.”
Citation manipulation, such as inclusion of references from other publications without actually reading the cited work, or self-citing works that are irrelevant, must be avoided.
All information and contents that originate from other resources must be all credited and cited. If any copyrighted or previously published materials, adapted, edited, or otherwise, are used in the manuscript, the author must obtain permission from the copyright owner(s) prior to submitting the paper for review. Also, the authors must cite the source and indicate that permission has been received, as required by the copyright owner(s). The authors must submit permissions letters from the copyright owner(s) when submitting the manuscript.
Failure to Obtain IRB Approval
Clinical research included in articles, which report on human subjects or materials of human origin, must comply with the provisions of the Declaration of Helsinki, and it must be mentioned that the study has been approved by the relevant institutional or national review board (IRB). If no approval from any IRB was required, that must be explicitly stated in the manuscript.
All authors listed in the manuscript must meet the following criteria of contribution as described by the ICMJE in the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals.
1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the research or the acquisition and analysis of data for the work; and
2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
3. Final approval of the version to be published; and
4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Exclusion of authors who made a definite contribution or inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work is not permitted. Consent to submit to the Journal of Hospital General Medicine must be obtained explicitly from all authors prior to submitting a manuscript.
Noncompliance with Local Laws and Regulations
Authors must comply with local regulations and laws if the work involves animals or human subjects, or if it involves investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or any chemical materials that may be hazardous in their use.
So-called “salami-slicing” or dividing a single study into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions to other journals or the same journal is not permitted.
II. Handling Allegations of Misconduct
The Journal of Hospital General Medicine follows the COPE’s Core Practices guidelines and flowcharts for handling allegations of publishing misconduct pre- and post-publication. For any information that is not mentioned in the COPE guidelines, please refer to COPE’s flowcharts
Procedure for Handling Allegations of Misconduct in Submitted Manuscripts
When editors, reviewers, authors, and/or journal staff suspect any instances of ethical misconduct during peer review, they should bring them to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief (EIC). The manuscript will be placed on hold. The EIC will review the case and make the preliminary assessment. If the EIC finds that an explanation from the authors is necessary, the EIC will send the corresponding author a notification, which points out the allegation and requests an explanation.
If the corresponding author does not respond and/or provide sufficient rationale for the raised concern, or if the EIC is presented with evidence that establishes the ethical breach, regardless of the severity, the EIC will refer the case to the Editorial Board, which, in turn, will discuss the allegations, explanations, evidence, possible sanctions, and corrective actions, such as publishing an erratum, expression of concern, or retraction.
Possible sanctions may include:
- Official warning to the author
- Immediate rejection of the manuscript
- Publication of formal notice of misconduct
- Formal notice to an author’s institution
- Formal embargo on future contributions to the Journal of Hospital General Medicine
Complaints and Appeals
The peer review decisions made based on the editors’ judgment will not be rescinded once they are made. The Journal of Hospital General Medicine will not reconsider the paper for peer review unless misconduct, negligence, or absolutely unusual pattern of review process by our editorial team is found. The Journal of Hospital General Medicine, however, considers complaints an opportunity to improve our peer review process, manuscript handling procedures, and management for journal publishing. All received complaints are dealt with constructively and in a timely manner. For procedures not summarized below, please refer to the COPE’s Core Practices in dealing with complains and appeals.
Making a Complain
To submit a complaint about the policies, procedures, or actions of the journal staff of the Journal of Hospital General Medicine, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all allegations of misconduct related to fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, copyright or intellectual property infringement, breach of research ethics, authorship or contributorship disputes, conflicts of interest, or any other problematic conduct either pre- or post-publication, please submit a letter of complaint by e-mail to email@example.com. The letter of complaint should include factual information and related evidence.
Process for Dealing with Complaints
Once a letter of complaint is received, an e-mail confirming its receipt will be sent to the complainant within three (3) business days (Japan Standard Time), with the assurance that appropriate action will be taken immediately.
The received complaint will be reported to the EIC, which will refer it to the editors and other officials that are relevant to the issue. In a case of a publication ethics violation, the allegations will be investigated, and the necessary decisions will be made in accordance with the COPE’s guidelines and flowcharts. The result of the investigation will be determined within four (4) weeks, if possible. If this is not possible, the complainant will be sent details concerning progress of the investigation until the issue is resolved.
If readers have a grievance concerning any articles published, they can begin a post-publication discussion by submitting a letter to the editor. The editor will review the letter and may ask other experts in the field to review the content. If appropriate, the editor will ask the authors of the original article to comment and publish both the original letter followed by the author(s) response.
Appeals for Editorial Decisions
Editors of the Journal of Hospital General Medicine apply their best efforts to provide fair and unbiased reviews and decisions. However, if an author strongly feels that an inappropriate decision has been made by the editors, the Journal of Hospital General Medicine allows a single appeal of the manuscript’s editorial decision. An appeal should include the detailed information and the clear reasons for the appeal, and it should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All received complaints will be forwarded to the EIC, which will then refer it to the editor who handled the manuscript, or the Editorial Board, and they will review the appeal and determine whether any changes to the decision should be made. This may require re-review of the manuscript. The new decision made after the appeal is considered final.
III.Erratum, Express of Concern, and Retraction
In order to ensure that retractions, erratum, and expressions of concern are handled according to industry best practice, the Journal of Hospital General Medicine follows the Retraction Guidelines, provided by COPE, including:
An erratum may be issued to notify readers of important errors such as spelling, data, terms, typography, or omission, which occurred during the production process of an accepted article, which may mislead the readers. An erratum is also issued for the correction of author and contributor information.
Expression of Concern
An expression of concern will be issued if the investigation of an issue concerning a published article raises suspicion but does not provide conclusive evidence, and yet the EIC feels the article contains invalid results or has strong concerns that readers should be made aware of potentially misleading information contained in the article. Also, an expression of concern may be issued if the investigation requires a considerable amount of time to reach a resolution.
The Journal of Hospital General Medicine adopts the following retraction process:
1. Instances requiring an investigation are brought to the attention of the EIC.
2. The EIC investigates the case following the step-by-step guidelines provided in the COPE flowcharts.
The EIC may contact the authors to request an explanation, which will be evaluated.
3. The final decision as to whether to retract is then communicated to the author and, if necessary,
any other relevant bodies, such as the author’s institution.
4. The retraction statement is then posted online and published in the next available issue of the journal.
The Journal of Hospital General Medicine may issue retractions to alert the readers of seriously erroneous data that invalidate the conclusion of the study presented in the published article or of ethical misconduct. Retractions are published if the EIC has convincing evidence for the following cases, either as a result of ethical violations or honest error:
1. The findings or data are unreliable or misleading
3. Duplicate publication without permission
4. Unethical research
The retraction will include:
1. Information of the retracted article, such as title and authors
2. Link to the retracted article
3. Reasons for retraction
To preserve the integrity of the published record, the Journal will not remove the retracted article. It will be maintained on the platform. The PDF will be replaced with a version watermarked with the word “Retracted,” but the original text will remain accessible. A retraction notice will also be published in the next available issue.