What is mSphereDirect™ ?
mSphereDirect is a new publishing pathway in mSphere, a multidisciplinary open-access journal spanning the microbial sciences. mSphereDirect facilitates a fundamental shift from traditional peer review by putting authors in control and allowing them to secure reviews from recognized experts as quickly as possible. This pathway guarantees a decision within five business days. Authors select their own reviewers and submit scientific reviews simultaneously with the original research. mSphere Senior Editors validate the reviewers' credentials and evaluate the quality of the submitted reviews and research. This pathway puts authors in control and allows for rapid decisions, speed to publication, and transparency in review.
What do I need to know about being a reviewer for mSphereDirect?
Peer review is a critical part of the scientific publishing process. Your review will help the Editor decide whether or not to publish the manuscript. Your honest opinion and observations of the research are essential. The mSphereDirect pathway uses an open review process, and reviewers are encouraged to provide criticism, arguments, and suggestions in a courteous and constructive manner. Providing insight into any deficiencies in the manuscript is important and will help the authors improve their final manuscript.
You should explain and support your recommendation for publication so that both Editors and authors are able to fully understand the reasoning behind your comments. You should indicate whether your comments are your own opinion or are reflected by the data. Your name and institutional affiliation with be published with the manuscript if it is accepted.
It is important to remember that the manuscript provided to you for review is a privileged document. Please protect it from any form of exploitation. Do not cite a manuscript or refer to the work it describes before it has been published and do not use the information that it contains for the advancement of your own research or in discussions with colleagues.
Adopt a positive, impartial, but critical attitude toward the manuscript under review, with the aim of promoting effective, accurate, and relevant scientific communication.
Please consider the following aspects when reviewing a manuscript:
- Significance to the target scientific community
- Appropriateness of the approach or experimental design
- Appropriateness of the statistical analyses
- Adherence to correct scientific nomenclature
- Appropriate literature citations
- Adequacy of experimental techniques
- Soundness of conclusions and interpretation
- Relevance of discussion
- Adequacy of title and abstract
- Appropriateness of figures and tables
- Appropriateness of supplemental material intended for posting (if applicable)
- Whether it describes misuse of microbial systems or the information derived therefrom
You are not required to correct deficiencies of style, syntax, or grammar, but any help you can give in clarifying meaning will be appreciated. In particular, point out the use of scientific jargon, misspellings of chemical names, use of outmoded terminology or incorrect genetic nomenclature, and use of misspelled, incorrect, or outdated scientific names of organisms.
What are mSphereDirect's reviewer requirements?
- Must have published at least five scientific articles, within the corresponding area of expertise, within the past 5 years in established peer-reviewed, international, English-language journals that are indexed in PubMed and as a first or corresponding author in at least two of the publications
- Must be affiliated with an established nonprofit or for-profit institution and must have an institutional e-mail address
- May not be from the same institution as the author(s)
- May not have coauthored articles or otherwise collaborated with the author(s) within the last 5 years
- Must not have trained with or mentored (i.e., as a doctoral or postdoctoral advisor) the author(s) at any time
- Must have completed postdoctoral training
- Must have agreed to be identified by name and institutional affiliation in the published paper if the manuscript is accepted
Checklist for Reviewers:
- Fill out the external mSphereDirect review form completely.
- Give your feedback on the article, including whether it is novel and interesting, has a sufficient impact, and adds to the knowledge base.
- Highlight the major shortcomings/what has not been addressed in the research. This paragraph should be followed by specific comments, which may be divided into major/minor points, if appropriate.
- If you suspect plagiarism or fraud or have other ethical concerns, raise your suspicions with the author, providing as much detail as possible. Review ASM's Ethics Portal for additional information.
- Since the accepted manuscript will publish your name and institutional affiliation as a formal reviewer, make sure that you see the final manuscript before the author submits the paper. The author will be asked to provide us confirmation from you that you have seen the revised manuscript and are satisfied that your concerns have been addressed.