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Table 2 Task-related statements (‘tasks’ refer to specific actions that fulfil ‘roles’ that refer to the overarching nature of peer reviewers’ function. The statements are ranked by numerical frequency)

From: A scoping review on the roles and tasks of peer reviewers in the manuscript review process in biomedical journals

Theme Itema Tasks… #b
Organisation and approach to review 1 Identify strengths and weaknesses 31
2 Identify flaws 29
3 Provide summary of key points 29
4 Differentiate between major and minor comments 17
5 Follows reviewer guidelines provided by the journal 11
6 Differentiate between fatal vs. addressable flaws 10
7 Address all aspects of the manuscript 9
8 Differentiate between general and specific comments 6
9 Identify missing information 5
10 Number each statement chronologically 5
Make general comments 11 Determine validity/quality/technical merit/rigour 69
12 Assess originality 55
13 Assess novelty 54
14 Assess importance/significance 48
15 Comment upon relevance to practice/science (clinical relevance) 45
16 Comment upon contribution to the field 42
17 Highlight whether current literature is covered 35
18 Determine timeliness of the manuscript—is it topical? 16
19 Determine whether reporting guidelines were followed (i.e. appropriate selection and adherence by authors) 5
20 Comment upon conceptual/theoretical framework 4
Assess and address content for each section of the manuscript Title
21 Title is accurate 28
Abstract
22 Accurate/conclusions consistent with results 26
23 Sufficiently detailed 23
24 Adequacy of abstract (in general) 18
25 Use of salient keywords 7
Introduction
26 Clarity of study purpose and hypothesis 50
27 Adequacy of introduction (in general) 37
28 Appropriateness and adequacy of the literature review 22
29 Relevance of problem 19
Methods
30 Adequacy of methods (in general) 65
31 Study design 56
32 Data analysis (methods and tests) 42
33 Use of statistics 42
34 Sampling strategy 34
35 Clarity and validity of statistical methods 33
36 How data was collected/reproducibility of methods 33
37 Methods appropriate for the research question 29
38 Risk of bias 25
39 Definition and measurement of variables 22
40 Inclusion/exclusion criteria 15
41 Follow-up 12
42 Assess different analysis parts separately 11
43 Reliable and appropriate tools used 11
44 Power analysis 10
Results
45 Clarity of tables and figures 54
46 Adequacy of results (general) 46
47 Neutral and logical presentation of results 25
48 No interpretation of results 12
49 Accuracy of raw data/appendices 8
Discussion/conclusion
50 Interpretation supported by data 92
51 Adequacy of discussion (general) 53
52 Study limitations addressed 22
53 Research and policy implications (suggestions for future studies) 17
54 Summary reflects contents of the article 13
55 Generalizability of study conclusions 5
References
56 Appropriateness and accuracy of references 52
Address ethical aspects 57 Consider general ethical aspects and report on any specific ethical concerns (including manipulation of data, plagiarism, duplicate publication, inappropriate treatment of animal or human subjects) 55
58 Report on ethical approval 11
59 Check specifically for plagiarism/fraud 4
60 Highlight competing interests of authors 4
61 No need to detect fraud 2
Assess manuscript presentation 62 Overall readability 41
63 Presentation (general) 40
64 Coherence/clarity and logical flow of the text 37
65 Grammar and spelling 30
66 Organisation of the manuscript 25
67 Use of language 21
68 Length of the manuscript 12
69 Check adherence to authors’ guidelines (i.e. journal guidelines for authors) 9
Provide recommendations 70 Recommendations on publication (e.g. no/minor/major revisions, reject) 74
71 Comment on interest to journal readership/relevance for journal scope 52
72 Complete (numerical) rating/checklist 26
73 Recommend another more suitable journal 2
  1. aCorresponds to the ‘Role item(s)’ columns in the tables related to tasks in the additional files
  2. bNumber of extracted tasks statements across all data sources in the scoping review