MRD attaches great importance to maintaining the acknowledged high standard of its peer-reviewed sections. The sections offer a selection of recent, original research on mountains, validated sustainable mountain development experiences, and reviews of the state of the art with corresponding agendas for mountain research and policy. Coverage ranges widely, from topics in the natural sciences to anthropological, economic, political, and sociocultural issues. Contributions have contemporary relevance, offer scientific insights or methodological innovations, include disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches, and are relevant to sustainable mountain development and policy.
Manuscripts submitted for publication in MRD must not have been published elsewhere. Papers must present arguments and evidence in a concise and readable form (maximum length according to guidelines = 25,000 characters including spaces, not counting the list of references). They are written by scholars and development specialists from throughout the world and cover all continents. Contributions by authors from developing countries are encouraged.
Reviewers of papers in all three peer-reviewed sections are requested to assess the value of the manuscript in terms of novelty, scholarship, readability, and relevance to mountains and sustainable development. In addition, reviewers of MountainDevelopment papers are asked to assess the practical value of the insights presented, while reviewers of MountainAgenda papers comment on the relevance of the research or policy agenda. For a description of MRD’s three peer-reviewed journal sections—MountainDevelopment, MountainResearch, and MountainAgenda—please consult MRD’s section policies.
All manuscripts submitted to the editors for publication in one of MRD’s three peer-reviewed sections are sent to at least two independent reviewers. The review process is strictly confidential. It is a double-blind process for MountainDevelopment and MountainResearch papers: authors’ identities are not disclosed to reviewers, and reviewers’ identities are not disclosed to authors unless explicitly requested by the reviewers. MountainAgenda articles are reviewed in a more open process by the Editors and a member of the International Editorial Board or an expert designated by them, and identities are disclosed among reviewers and authors. In all cases, reviewers’ comments to the authors may be shared with other reviewers of the same article for the purpose of assessing authors’ revisions; blinded identities will remain blinded during this process.
Online review process
Reviewers are requested to submit their reviews online using PeerTrackTM, the internet interface provided by Allen Press. The submission process can be interrupted at any time and taken up again later.
A review consists of two mandatory parts. You are asked to
- answer the questions listed in your invitation e-mail, and
- give an overall recommendation for the submission (accept, reject, etc.)
In addition, you will have the possibility of giving the manuscript an overall rating between 0 and 100, and to enter confidential comments to the editors.
How to proceed
1. Log into PeerTrack
You have received an e-mail invitation to review a specific manuscript. In this e-mail, you will find a link to the PeerTrack site. Please log into the site and update your personal information as requested. Then make sure that you are logged in as a Reviewer. If not, you may simply change your role to “Reviewer” in the drop-down menu in the black bar at the top of the screen.
2. Find the manuscript
Once you are logged in as a Reviewer, go to the “Reviewer Main Menu” and click on “New Reviewer Invitations.” This will open a list of MRD manuscripts that you have been invited to review. (Normally, there will not be more than one manuscript listed here.) In the first column you will find your Action Links. The Action Link menu automatically pops up when you roll your mouse pointer over the link; alternatively you can click on the “+” sign in the header line to expand the menu.
3. Accept or decline the invitation to review
Click on “View Abstract” and “View submission” to see the contents of the paper and decide whether you agree to do the review. You may agree or decline the invitation to review this paper by clicking on the corresponding links. If you are not in a position to do the review and decide to decline, the editors would be very grateful for any suggestions of one or more colleagues (along with contact details) whom we could contact to review this submission.
4. Download the full manuscript
Once you have accepted an invitation to review, this submission will move to the list of “Pending Assignments,” which you can access directly or from the “Reviewer Main Menu.” Please download the manuscript under review by clicking on the “View submission” Action Link. If you are asked to “select a revision,” please choose the most recent one (at the top of the list); you do not need to look at the previous versions. The download will consist of a PDF file containing all parts of the submission except for author information and acknowledgments. The text will have line numbers that you can quote when making comments.
Please note that any text without line numbers is supplemental material which will not appear as part of the article, but will be published, formatted as the authors deliver it, under a separate DOI. As a reviewer, you are not required to comment on supplemental material; it is included simply for your information. Typically, such supplemental material will contain long lists or large tables of material sometimes required by reviewers but not publishable in the normal article layout.
5. Write your review
5.1. If you have been invited to do a full review (rather than to check revisions—in that case see 5.2.), please use the list of review questions from your invitation e-mail. For your convenience, we suggest that you copy and paste this checklist into an empty word processing file (eg Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer) that you save locally, and answer the questions there. Any additional comments are very welcome. Please remember that the maximum length of articles is 25,000 characters including spaces. If you make suggestions for expansion, if possible please also indicate which parts of the text could be shortened. Note that we will forward your comments directly to the authors. We may later also share them with other reviewers of the same manuscript for the purpose of checking authors’ revisions. If, in addition, you would like to make confidential comments to the editors, you will be able to do so when submitting your review. The review questions are also available online:
- List of review questions for submissions to the MountainDevelopment section
- List of review questions for submissions to the MountainResearch section
- List of review questions for submissions to the MountainAgenda section
5.2. If you have been invited to check revisions, please assess whether the authors addressed the reviewers’ concerns in an adequate way and specify where you see a need for additional revisions. You will find the reviewers’ comments to the authors in your invitation e-mail; you may also find commented versions of the paper online. For your convenience, we suggest that you write your assessment in a word processing file (eg Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer) that you save locally. Note that we will forward your comments directly to the authors. If, in addition, you would like to make confidential comments to the editors, you will be able to do so when submitting your assessment.
6. Optional: Make comments in the manuscript
If, in addition to answering the review questions, you wish to enter comments directly in the manuscript, you may do so in PDF or Word format. Please make sure not to reveal your identity in the text of your comments unless you want the authors to know it. Identity tags added to your comments by Word or Acrobat will automatically be removed by the system once you upload the file.
7. Submit your review
Once you have answered all questions and finished commenting the manuscript under review, you must log into PeerTrack again. From the “Reviewer Main Menu,” go to “Pending Assignments” and click on the “Submit Recommendation” Action Link. On the next screen, please go through the following steps, clicking on the “Save & Submit Later” Button after each step in order to prevent loss of data in case your Internet connection gets interrupted:
- Copy your answers and comments from your word processing file and paste them into the top textbox, labeled “Reviewer Blind Comments to Author.”
- Answer the five brief questions in the bottom textbox, labeled “Reviewer Confidential Comments to Editor,” and add any other confidential comments to the editors.
- Select your overall recommendation from the dropdown menu at the top of the screen. A description of what the various recommendations mean is given below.
- Optional: You may upload a commented version of the manuscript in PDF or Word format. To do this, use the “Upload Reviewer Attachments” button.
- Optional: You may give the manuscript an overall rating between 100 (excellent) and 0 (of no value) in the box at the top of the review window, to the right of the recommendation. We will use this rating for monitoring purposes only; it will not be communicated to the author(s).
- Click the “Proof & Print” Button to view your review and make a printout. If necessary, click “Edit Review” to make changes.
- Click the “Submit Review to Journal Office” Button to submit your review. Once you do this, you will no longer be able to change your review. However, it will remain accessible under “Completed Assignments” in your “Reviewer Main Menu.”
You should recommend…
…ACCEPT unconditionally when a manuscript is a valuable contribution to the relevant field of research and no revisions of any kind are needed (apart from very minor language corrections which can be made during copyediting).
…accept with MINOR REVISIONS when a manuscript is a valuable contribution to the relevant field of research but requires minor revisions prior to publication. Be explicit about the revisions requested so that the authors and editors know what changes are needed. The review of the revised manuscript will be handled by the editorial team.
…accept with MAJOR REVISIONS when a manuscript has the potential to become a valuable contribution to the relevant field of research but requires major revisions prior to publication. Be explicit in the revisions requested so that the authors and editors know what changes are needed. The editors may later ask you to check the revised manuscript and assess whether the authors addressed the reviewers’ concerns in an adequate way.
…REJECT when a manuscript does not have the potential to become a valuable contribution to the relevant field of research. Please provide a complete rationale for your decision, but do not include recommendations for revising the article. The authors will receive the peer reviewers’ comments and rationale, but they will not be invited to resubmit their manuscript.
…REJECT WITH POSSIBILITY OF RESUBMISSION when a manuscript has the potential to become a valuable contribution to the relevant field of research but requires such extensive revisions that it will need to go through the full peer review process again once it is revised. Be explicit in the revisions requested so that the authors and editors know what changes are needed. The authors will be asked to consider that they are resubmitting the manuscript for a fresh review. If the manuscript is revised and resubmitted, you may be asked to re-review it and assess whether the revisions are sufficient to make the paper publishable.
Disqualifying yourself as a reviewer of a given manuscript
The quality of a journal is largely based on the integrity of the peer review process. There are several potential reasons for disqualifying yourself as a reviewer of a given manuscript. Please disqualify yourself if
- you know you will not be able to make the deadline;
- you were directly involved in the work discussed in the paper;
- you helped write the paper or reviewed the paper for a colleague prior to submission;
- you feel so strongly about the topic that you do not believe you can be objective;
- you believe the article is outside your area of expertise;
- you are certain you know the authors and can therefore not be objective (thinking you might know the authors is not a reason for disqualification).