Hungarian Statistical Review - For Reviewers
We are thankful to all our reviewers for the continuous improvement of the journal’s standard and we hope that the evaluation of the studies is beneficial for them, too. The list of the collaborating reviewers each year is published in the last issue of the year, we certificate their reviewing work on request, and we urge this work to be recognized by the institutions as part of the research activity.
Hereinafter, we would like to formulate certain general principles for preparing reviewers’ opinions.
- In line with its profile, the Hungarian Statistical Review publishes a wide array of studies from thematic and methodological points of view, concerning the whole spectrum of statistics, statistical theory, methodology and history, and applied statistical analyses. In consequence, there is no uniform expectation regarding the studies’ structure and there is no standard reviewers’ form with obligatory points to be taken into account when reviewing a manuscript. (We may submit on request a reviewers’ form containing some evaluation and decision-making criteria that we consider important.) The most valuable parts of the reviewers’ opinions are the exact recommendations for improving the studies’ standard, regarding:
- correction of factual errors and contextual deficiencies,
- incorrect utilisation of methods,
- disputable interpretation of results,
- improving the structure of the study,
- missed significant aspects,
- incorrect use of terminology.
- A study can only reach the reviewing stage if it passes the first filter of the editorial process, fits thematically into the journal’s profile, and its scientific standard meets the requirements.
- The mathematical part of the statistical methodology is exact, however its application and interpretation may contain several disputed and controversial fields. In such cases, the reviewer should avoid forcing unilateral viewpoints on the author and references on ‘manuals’ or other examples which are also disputed or linked to certain schools among other interpretations. If the reviewed study’s standpoint is outstanding among the competing viewpoints, supported by logical reasoning, it is legitimate and defendable, the reviewer should respect the author’s approach even if he or she does not share it.
- Critical observations must be as constructive as possible, avoiding negative or patronising approaches. The justification of the rejection is required in the case of rejecting criticism. If the manuscript is beyond help, the reviewer may notify the editor-in-chief in writing.
- Sometimes manuscripts cover a wide range of topics and methodologies when it would be difficult to find one person to review them all. The routine in these cases is to involve two or more reviewers from different fields. The reviewer has no obligation to express opinion about the parts in which he or she has no expertise.
- The correct presentation, processing, referencing of research results is theoretically a basic principle of every scientific work, however, its assessment features several problems. From a list of reference not dealing in merit with the issue or suggesting a prestige-based or reference coalition, one may draw criticism.
- One should not use reviewing to increase his or her own referencing, which means that the reviewer should not forcefully suggest the author to reference the reviewer’s work. It is important to draw attention to the not-referenced works, however the reviewer’s work(s) should only be mentioned among these if it was (were) proposed by others as well; the reviewer should not reveal his or her own identity with the suggestion.
- Reviewing should be kept confidential, the manuscript has to be handled as a confidential document, it cannot be given to a third party. Results from the study shall not be used without proper referencing. If the study is not published, it is not possible to reference it either, however, in this case it did not actually contain original results. Before or without publishing, the results could only be used with the permission of the author.
- The reviewer is unknown to the author, therefore the reviewer should avoid providing information which would make his or her identification possible (pushing the suggestion of referencing his own work refers to this aspect).
- Originality and scientific standard are expected from authors. Extremes, such as setting unreasonably high standards or excessive acceptance of mediocre, stereotypical works are not suggested in the course of reviewing.
- Reviewers should comply with the reviewing deadline. We understand if this is not possible, although we kindly request a notification regarding the delay.
- Copy editing and proofreading take place every time; among the linguistic, stylistic problems those related to the correct use of the scientific terminology are the most interesting ones.