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Instructions for reviewers

Comments for the Authors:

The reviewer’s report (Comments for the Author) is essential to the editorial process. Your comments will have a major influence on the Editors’ decision about the manuscript and the author(s) will benefit from your feedback.  Some general considerations when writing your comments to the authors are provided below.   Your review will be anonymous.  It is essential that the content of the manuscript be kept confidential.

Confidential Comments to the Editors:

You may provide additional confidential comments to the Editors.   These may relate to reasons for your enthusiasm (or lack of enthusiasm), the likelihood for the manuscript to make a substantive contribution if properly revised, aspects of the manuscript for which you lack sufficient expertise to evaluate, and any concerns that you do not wish to communicate to the authors.   Do not extensively repeat comments that have been provided to the authors.

Supplemental Materials:

If the submission contains supplemental materials, it is your responsibility to evaluate them at the same level as the contents of the main manuscript.  Provide comments to the authors and/or Editors if 1) anything included in supplemental materials is essential to understanding the main article and should be presented there, or 2) if any supplemental materials are unnecessary.   If large data sets are provided as part of the supplemental materials, you are not expected to review them in detail.

Mentored Reviews:

You may jointly author your review with  postdoctoral scholars, fellows or junior colleagues as part of their training.   As the mentoring reviewer, you are expected to provide a level of supervision and input such that the submitted review is of equal quality to one written by you alone.  If you submit a mentored review, check the appropriate box on the review form and provide the name of the trainee.    

Review Form:

In addition to written comments to the authors and Editors, you will be asked to respond to several questions on the review form. You will also be asked to rate the manuscript on a 5 point scale (high to low) on Importance, Scientific Rigor, Novelty, Clarity and Appropriateness for Publication in SLEEP.   You will be asked to provide one of four recommended decisions for the manuscript:

1) Accept.  The manuscript is acceptable for publication as is or it requires only minimal revisions/clarifications and does not need to be re-reviewed.
2) Minor Revision.  The manuscript is likely to be accepted after authors address requests for revision that do not involve major re-working of the data analysis and presentation or of the organization and text of the manuscript.
3) Major Revision:  The manuscript may possibly be accepted with major revisions.  The manuscript is promising but needs major revisions and, in the judgment of the reviewer, may be unacceptable depending on the responses of the authors to the review.  If the reviewer feels that ratings of novelty and importance will not improve even if the manuscript is adequately revised, the decision should be Reject, not Major Revision.
4) Reject.  The manuscript is not of sufficient quality, novelty or importance to warrant publication.

Recommended Structure for Comments for Authors:

In order to maximize the quality and consistency of reviews, we ask that reviewers use the following format for preparing their review comments. While this format is not mandatory, we strongly encourage its use. 
Significance: Is the question/problem addressed an important one? Does the paper include a clear statement of aims and/or hypotheses?
Approach/methods: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the approach/methods? Are statistical analyses appropriate?
Results: Are results presented clearly, accurately, and in appropriate detail? 
Context: Is there appropriate discussion of study aims, methods, and findings in the context of the extant literature? Are strengths and limitations adequately addressed?
Presentation: Is the paper clearly organized? Are the use of English language, tables, and figures appropriate?

Reviewers may add other sections at their discretion.

General Considerations When Preparing Comments for Authors: 

• Be concrete.  For example, if you want the authors to cite a specific paper, give details about the paper, preferably the full citation.    Don’t just say “The authors have overlooked some key literature.”  Similarly, if you think the authors should do a particular analysis or simulation, be specific about its nature. 
• Be clear.  Make specific recommendations to the authors.  Say what you want them to do and why. If you find a portion of the paper disorganized, say how you think it should be reorganized.   At a minimum, be clear about what you think the problems are. 
• Use the third person.  Your comments serve two purposes — to help the editor decide what to do about the paper and to help the authors improve it. The first purpose has priority so your review should be addressed to the editor (even though the comments will be shared with the author); refer to the paper and its authors in the third person.   Using the second person can make your comments seem harsher and your recommendations more peremptory than necessary. 
• Be brief.  Focus on the major strengths and weaknesses of the paper.  This will help the editor make a decision.  Don’t overload the review with copy‐editing points.  If the paper is desperately in need of proofing or editing for English usage, note that and point to some specific examples, but keep in mind that the reviewer’s job is not to copy‐edit the paper.  The best reviews are usually one or two single‐spaced pages and fewer than 1,000 words.
• Reviewers should not be disrespectful to the authors or dismissive of their work.  Following some of the earlier suggestions (being clear and specific and addressing your comments to the editor) can help in this regard.

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