Instructions for Reviewers

Clinical Immunology and Microbiology’s (CIM) reputation for excellence depends upon the professionalism of its volunteer reviewers. We invite reviewers to ensure that manuscripts meet high quality standards appropriate to the scholarly disciplines the manuscripts represent. CIM prides itself on a developmental review process, wherein even rejections provide authors with valuable advice.

The points below provide general guidelines for reviewing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Associate Editor or Managing Editor.

  1. Timeliness in reviewing is essential. Many submissions are from junior faculty whose tenure or promotion might depend on the outcome of a review. Please try to meet the deadlines given for reviews. If you cannot meet the deadline, please let the managing editor know when to expect your review.
  2. Disclose potential conflicts of interest. If you think you cannot give an impartial review, of course you should disqualify yourself. If you think that recognizing the author's work will not prevent you from giving an impartial review, notify the editor who asked you to do the review of the potential appearance of conflict of interest.
  3. Report suspected plagiarism or other breaches of ethics. We do check accepted papers against a database of published articles, but if you notice plagiarism or other breaches of ethics during your review, notify the editor.
  4. Disclose limitations. If you are uncertain about some aspects of a manuscript, or think certain aspects of a manuscript are outside your expertise, please let the editor know. 
  5. Manuscripts should be considered confidential. Under no circumstances should you distribute them further, or make any other use of them, without first contacting the editor, who will then discuss the request with the author.
  6. Regarding your comments for authors:
  • Do not identify yourself or your institution in your comments for the authors. Do not use letterhead. Do not say, "In my work (Smith, 2010) …" or "Here, at the University of X, we…"
  • Do not include overall recommendations in your comments to the authors ("This paper is publishable," "This paper is unacceptable," "This paper should not be published," etc.). General recommendations should appear only in comments you provide separately for the editor. Reviewers often disagree; it is the editor’s job to make an overall recommendation about publishing.
  • We prefer that you provide your comments by pasting them into the text box provided on the system. You also have the option to upload your comments as a .pdf document. Please do not upload a .doc file. If you do upload a .pdf document, make sure it is fully blinded (your name neither in the document or in document properties).
  • Please number each comment. This makes it much easier for editors and authors to discuss specific concerns and issues in a manuscript.
  • Please cite page numbers when referring to specific sections of the manuscript.
  • Authors will receive an anonymous copy of your comments. Always be polite, scholarly, detailed, and constructive. Use a professional style in preparing your comments. Avoid disparaging interjections, ad hominem remarks, and offensive exclamations.
  • Always talk about the paper, not the author. Scrutinize the issues, ideas and methods, not the author. Your review should reflect your scholarly judgment and expertise.
  • Be consistent; don’t write a very promising set of comments to the author, and then say very negative things in the evaluation form you provide to the editor (or vice versa).
  • When you make recommendations to an author, provide enough detail for the author to understand why you make the recommendation. Provide specific citations to help the authors find the literature you are referencing.
  • Even if you think a manuscript is seriously flawed, try to give the author suggestions as to how it might be improved. Also be sure to identify the strengths of a paper, and consider whether and how those strengths might be salvaged.
  • Sometimes you will receive a manuscript which obviously is written by someone whose first language is not English. In these cases, please be sure to distinguish, as best you can, between the quality of writing and quality of ideas. Writing problems in an otherwise insightful paper could be fixed in revision, or by partnering with a coauthor whose first language is English.