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Reviewer Guidelines

As a journal sponsored by HCA Healthcare Graduate Medical Education, the HCA Healthcare Journal of Medicine views the submission and peer review process as part of the continuing learning experience of our medical practitioners. Whether the authors are experienced physicians or residents, we expect the review process to be an instructive and positive experience, even in the case of rejection. Click here for reviewer instructions.

For Authors

Scope and the review process

The HCA Healthcare Journal of Medicine publishes the article in the following categories: Editorials and News, Education, Clinical Reviews, Case Reports, Research and Humanities. Articles published in the News, Education, Clinical Reviews, Case Reports and Research will be peer-reviewed. The author guidelines detail the specific article types generally published by the journal, but the editors will consider submissions that don’t fall within a specific type.

Invited articles and submissions for the Humanities section, which is coordinated by the editors, are not usually peer-reviewed. Submissions of these types which contain detailed clinical information may be peer-reviewed at the discretion of the editors.

Questions about reviews for a specific manuscript should be sent to the editor who is assigned the manuscript. General questions about the review process can be directed to HCA.GMEJournal@hcahealthcare.com.

The start of the review process

All submitted manuscripts are read by the editorial staff. Manuscripts the editors judge to be of little significance, to be outside of scope, or to have editorial or clinical issues that make it inappropriate for publication will be rejected prior to review.

Manuscripts judged to be of interest to our readers and are determined to have practical information applicable to clinical practice or evidence-based medicine are sent for peer review. Typically, articles will receive two or three reviews, but additional reviewers may be brought on for special expertise, such as a statistical review.

Along with their written feedback, reviewers will recommend a decision on a submission from three options: Accept with minor revisions, Major revisions required, or Reject.

Double blind peer review

The journal follows a double-blind peer review procedure, meaning the identities of authors and reviewers are hidden from each other. We ask authors to be cognizant of this and try to avoid making statements that might reveal their identity to reviewers. The submission portal separately collects the cover letter and acknowledgments to aid in this procedure. The list of authors, their affiliations and corresponding author information should be included in the cover letter and not in the manuscript itself.

Authors who are asked for revisions after a decision has been rendered, will need to supply a tracked changes version of their document for re-review. Those changes will likely include personal information of any co-authors who edit the file. Authors should clear personal information by clicking on ‘File’, then the ‘Click for Issues’ box and then select ‘Inspect Document’. Make sure the ‘Document Properties and Personal Information’ box is checked then click ‘Inspect’. If Word has stored any personal information, the option to ‘Remove All’ personal data will appear. Click this and then save the file. The document should now be free of personal information in the tracked changes and comments.

Time from submission to an initial decision

The HCA Healthcare Journal of Medicine is committed to providing editorial decisions as quickly as possible. We aim to render an initial decision within 30 days of submission, but please be aware it is not always possible to render a decision within this time frame.

In order to help shorten the process, authors are encouraged to provide names of potential reviewers for their submission (please see below on who can review for the journal). Please choose reviewers who are able to provide an unbiased view on the work. The editors reserve the right to select the reviewers requested to review a manuscript and are not required to request reviewers submitted by authors.

The decision-making process

The editors make a decision based on the reviewers' advice from among the possibilities listed below:

  • Accept, no additional review or section editor revisions are required for publication. (Note that all articles are also copyedited by the journal production staff and they may require additional edits for clarity or to conform to publishing standards.)
  • Accept with minor revisions, the article’s contents is accepted on its technical merits, but the reviewers or editor requires some minor edits.
  • Minor revisions required, the authors need to fix one or two minor technical or editorial issues to make the article acceptable for revision.
  • Major revisions required, the authors have multiple technical and editorial issues that must be resolved to make the article acceptable for revision.
  • Reject, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems.
The decision is at the discretion of the editor, who may or may not rely fully on the reviewers’ recommendations.

The re-review process

Authors who are asked for revisions after a decision has been rendered, will need to supply a tracked changes version of their document for re-review. The editor will attempt to recruit the original reviewers who asked for revisions to re-review the manuscript to maintain continuity. The editor may also find new reviewers to either replace or supplement the original reviewers. After the second reviews are collected the decision-making process follows the process as noted above.

Revisions to the manuscript file will likely include personal information of any co-authors who edit the file. Authors should clear personal information by clicking on ‘File’, then the ‘Click for Issues’ box and then select ‘Inspect Document’. Make sure the ‘Document Properties and Personal Information’ box is checked then click ‘Inspect’. If Word has stored any personal information, the option to ‘Remove All’ personal data will appear. Click this and then save the file. The document should now be free of personal information in the tracked changes and comments.

For Reviewers

Who can review for the journal?

Reviewers for the HCA Healthcare Journal of Medicine must be DOs, MDs or PhDs. Residents are not eligible to review for the journal. Fellows can review for the journal, but if they are in an HCA Healthcare GME program they must have written approval from their Program Director. Potential reviewers may be asked to provide a CV prior to being added to the journal’s reviewer list.

The journal encourages co-authored reviews completed with the assistance of a resident or fellow. Co-reviewers must abide by the conditions laid out herein. Co-reviewers must be credited for their work when the review is submitted.

Reviewers can sign up to review for the journal by emailing HCA.GMEJournal@hcahealthcare.com. A list of specialties and topics of expertise should be included to help the editors identify appropriate reviewers.

NOTE: GME faculty can receive ACGME Scholarly Activity credit for reviewing. The journal will provide certificates to all reviewers on a yearly basis. Residents and fellows cannot receive ACGME scholarly credit for their review work.

What happens after volunteering to review?

An editor will request a reviewer’s services in a solicitation email through the journal’s secure reviewer portal. The article’s abstract and a link to the full article will be provided, allowing a potential reviewer to read the article prior to accepting or declining the request. If a reviewer declines the review request, they are encouraged to recommend other experts who might be willing to review. Be sure recommend names meet the requirements above.

How long do reviewers have to provide feedback?

The HCA Healthcare Journal of Medicine is committed to rapid editorial decisions to ensure our authors are able to disseminate their work in a timely manner. We therefore ask reviewers to respond promptly to accept or decline a review request. Reviews should be provided within 14 days of accepting a request to review. If reviewers anticipate a delay, we ask them to contact the editor, who can decide to recruit additional reviewers or inform the authors of potential delays.

Confidentiality

Reviewers are required to maintain confidentiality regarding any manuscripts under review. They must not share any information about a manuscript or its content with any third party without written permission from the journal and Emerald Medical Education.

What happens after the review is complete?

After completing the review, reviewers can use the request email to return to the reviewer portal and upload or cut-and-paste their feedback. Reviewers also select a recommendation for the article from among the possibilities listed below:

  • Accept with minor revisions, the article’s contents has been accepted on its technical merits. This can include minor edits or suggestions for additional discussion, but the reviewer doesn’t require a re-review prior to publication.
  • Major revisions required, the authors have multiple technical and editorial issues that must be resolved to make the article acceptable for revision. Reviewers will be asked to re-review the revised article after revisions are submitted under the same procedure listed above.
  • Reject, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems. Reviewers will not be requested to re-review should the editor decide to allow the authors the opportunity to revise, unless the editor feels the authors have fully addressed the reasons for rejecting the original version of the article.

Double blind procedures and anonymity

The HCA Healthcare Journal of Medicine follows a double-blind review procedure, meaning the identities of authors and reviewers are hidden from each other. We ask reviewers to be cognizant of this and try to avoid making statements that might reveal their identity to the authors. Authors are likewise asked to blind their work, though in some cases this isn’t possible due to the regional nature of the work or other information the authors must reveal for transparency. We ask reviewers to remain neutral and not try to determine the identities of authors.

Edits or comments made to the manuscript file, if it is used instead of a separate review document, will likely include personal information of the reviewer. Reviewers should clear personal information by clicking on ‘File’, then the ‘Click for Issues’ box and then select ‘Inspect Document’. Make sure the ‘Document Properties and Personal Information’ box is checked then click ‘Inspect’. If Word has stored any personal information, the option to ‘Remove All’ personal data will appear. Click this and then save the file. The document should now be free of personal information in the tracked changes and comments.