The BFY Proceedings are intended to be inclusive welcoming not just significant or final results, but also preliminary research results and discussions of works-in-progress. A peer reviewer can only evaluate what the authors chose to include in the paper. Thus, each paper should be evaluated on the merit of what is presented versus what should/could have been presented.
Papers submitted to the BFY Proceedings are reviewed based on the following six criteria:
Interest/Value to the Advanced Laboratory community
While the BFY Proceedings are meant to be inclusive, welcoming works in progress, well written papers that are not of interest to the Advanced Laboratory community are not appropriate for the BFY Proceedings. Papers that you feel the Advanced Laboratory community would find thought-provoking or that make a contribution to the existing body of research should receive marks of 3 - 5 in this category.
New research should score highly in this category, as should work that is not necessarily entirely novel, but a worthwhile confirmation or extension of previous work.
Strength of Research
Here you should judge the appropriateness of the research methods and how effectively the researchers put those methods into practice. Look for techniques you feel could/should have been used but were not. Not all reviewers come to the review process with the same skill sets but all should have at least some familiarity with the types of research that may be conducted.
Papers that do not contain new research or data, but rather present ideas for the community's consideration can still be judged, but with slightly different considerations. Questions to consider in this situation are:
Interpretation of results should be a major part of this section as well as implications of the results.
Organization of Ideas
Sometimes a paper's content is novel and the research is sound, but the presentation is weak. If a paper is weak in the presentation (but can be improved in a minimal re-write), indicate that in this category.
Grammar and Formatting
All authors are expected to follow the BFY Proceedings Style Guide. Rate the papers based on how well the author(s) followed these guidelines, edited their own work, and followed accepted norms for writing a peer reviewed, scientific journal paper. Minor issues of formatting should be pointed out, but should not lead to a negative review. Failure to follow the formatting requirements in the initial submission should not cause any manuscript to be rejected. However, papers that are not properly formatted at final submission will be excluded from the Proceedings.
Publication Recommendation Levels
As a reviewer, you will ultimately need to tackle the following questions regarding whether the paper you have evaluated is appropriate for publication in its present form.
To help you decide which level of recommendation to choose, we have outlined a few thoughts for your consideration.
The paper makes a substantial contribution to the Advanced Laboratory community. The authors provide a strong rationale for the importance of the problem or issue under examination. The methodology is appropriate. The study is fundamentally sound. By "substantial contribution" we mean:
The paper meets the formatting requirements for the BFY Proceedings. It may need to have some minor re-wording to clarify the meaning of specific passages. It does not need to have any additional data or discussion added to strengthen the work presented. It may benefit from a thorough re-read to catch additional spelling and grammar errors but none of these significantly affect the message of the piece.
Offer this recommendation if you have given the paper good (3) to high (4, 5) marks in all categories.
Publish with MINOR Modifications
The paper makes a substantial contribution to the Advanced Laboratory community, but one or more aspects of the paper need minor clarification. The methodology is appropriate for addressing the questions or issue. The study is fundamentally sound. Even with the need for improvement, there is no doubt that the paper warrants publication in the BFY Proceedings. The amount of clarification necessary would NOT require a re-review of the paper.
Improvements may include the following:
The paper meets the formatting requirements for the BFY Proceedings. It contains several passages that require re-wording to clarify their meaning. It does not need to have any additional data but may need additional discussion added to strengthen the work presented.
A major consideration when selecting this level of recommendation is the length of time and amount of changes required by the authors.
If your answers to these questions indicate that the paper would need too much work, would be too difficult, and would take a long time to do, then this paper should be rejected as the paper would require a re-review before publishing.
This is the appropriate level of recommendation if you have given the paper good (3) to high (4, 5) marks in the most important categories (a - c), but you feel it would definitely benefit from a thorough re-read to catch additional spelling and grammar errors as some of these affect the message of the piece.
Do Not Publish
Typically, this categorization would be reserved specifically for papers in which the reviewers have found a significant number of weaknesses across several categories. However, due to the short turnaround time for the BFY Proceedings, this is not the only reason to recommend that a paper NOT be accepted for publication. The following are also examples of issues that would suggest that a paper not be accepted for publication at this time.
You should consider any paper that you gave low (1, 2) marks in one or more of the important categories (a - c) at this level of recommendation.
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