Instructions to Reviewers

Guidelines for Referees

Thank you for your willingness to serve as a referee for the Journal of Animal and poultry Sciences.

Scope

The Journal of Animal and Poultry Sciences publishes top quality original papers related to all aspects of animal and poultry sciences including Nutrition, Disease, Physiology, Pathology, Microbiology, Parasitology, Breeding and Genetics, Reproduction, Biotechnology, Livestock and Poultry Farming System, Laboratory Science, Ethology and Welfare, and all aspects of Animal, Poultry and Veterinary Science. Articles may be of the following types:

  • General scientific articles
  • Rapid communications
  • Short communications
  • Clinical communications
  • Case Reports
  • Reviews, and
  • Correspondence

The editorial policies of the Journal are in accordance with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals published by the International Committee for Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) available at: www.icmje.org.

General policy

Manuscripts should be assessed on their scientific integrity and the significance of their contribution to knowledge. The author’s opinions should be allowed to stand provided they are consistent with available evidence, even though you may disagree with them.

A detailed checklist is provided to guide the review process.

Please complete all sections of this and return it with a separately detailed critique of the manuscript. Please organise your review based on this checklist.

Where appropriate please provide an introductory paragraph summarising the major findings of the article with your overall impression of the paper, and highlighting the major shortcomings. This paragraph should be followed by specific, numbered comments, which may be divided into major and minor points. Adopt a positive, impartial but critical attitude toward the manuscript under review, with the aim of promoting effective, accurate, and relevant scientific communication and providing authors with clear and constructive feedback.

You are not required, but able to (left in your discretion) to correct deficiencies of style, syntax, or grammar, but any help you can provide in clarifying meaning will be appreciated.

If you recommend that the article be rejected, please give specific reasons for your decision. The final decision concerning acceptability of a manuscript is the responsibility of the Editor.

Confidentiality and anonymity

Manuscripts sent for review are privileged communications and must remain strictly confidential at all times. Referees must not copy, share or disclose the content of manuscripts to any other person except with the permission of the Editor, and must return or destroy manuscripts after submitting their reports. Referees must not use knowledge of the work, before its publication, to further their own interests.

Referees shall remain anonymous, unless both the referee and the Editor agree otherwise.

If you have any concerns that may result in a breach of confidentiality or anonymity of your review, please contact the Editor directly.

Conflict of Interest

Referees must disclose to the Editor any conflicts of interest or competing financial interests that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and should disqualify themselves if they believe this to be appropriate. Competing financial interests include any financial holdings, professional affiliations, advisory positions, board memberships, or patent applications/holdings that may bear relationship to the submitted work.

Please indicate on the “Checklist for Referees” whether conflicts do or do not exist and detail these separately as appropriate in your correspondence to the Editor.

Authors are required to state all sources of funding and financial support pertaining to the submitted research, including support in kind in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript. They are also required to list the organisational affiliations of all authors including academic, corporate and other commercial affiliations that have any bearing on the study in the Acknowledgements section, or included in affiliations listed for each author as footnotes on the title page.

Where funding or support has been provided from a commercial source or a conflict or competing interest exists amongst authors, the role of the named parties in the experimental design, implementation, analysis, interpretation of results, reporting and decision to publish must be declared.

The Editor will determine whether any of the material disclosed should be published as part of the article in a section preceding the Acknowledgements entitled, “Declaration of Interest”.

Animal welfare and medical ethics

All experimental work involving humans and/or animals must comply with the legal and ethical requirements of the institutions at and in the jurisdictions under which the work was done and international guidelines for the Use of Humans and Animals in Research, Testing and Teaching.

Studies using client-owned animals must be performed with informed client consent and demonstrate a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care.

The final decision concerning acceptability of a manuscript on ethical and welfare grounds rests with the Editor.

Classes of articles

General Scientific Articles report new and substantial contributions to Animal, Poultry and veterinary science based on original research. They have the format: Abstract, Key Words, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, Acknowledgements, References, and Tables and Figures.

Rapid Communications may report findings of preliminary nature, or present information of pressing importance. At the discretion of the Editorial Board, these will be published as soon as possible following peer review and should follow the format of General Scientific Articles or Review.

Short Communications report valuable but limited or preliminary observations. They generally have the same format as General Scientific Articles.

Clinical Communications present novel observations from clinical veterinary practice. The format may include Abstract, Key Words, Introduction, Case History, Clinical Findings, Discussion, Conclusion, Acknowledgements, References, and Tables and Figures.

Case Reports present novel observations from Animal and Poultry husbandry and practice. The format may include Abstract, Key Words, Introduction, Case History, Findings, Discussion, Conclusion, Acknowledgements, References, and Tables and Figures.

Review Articles provide expert summaries of current knowledge in a particular field. There are two types of Reviews – author’s submitted and Invited Reviews. Review articles have no set format, but should generally contain an Abstract that clearly summarises key points, Key Words, a concise Conclusion, Acknowledgements, References, and Tables and Figures.

Correspondence usually contains no headings, but may be followed by a short list of references. Correspondence of a scientific nature should follow the usual sequence for scientific articles.

Format

Aims

The aims, objectives or hypotheses tested should be clearly stated in the Abstract and at the end of the Introduction.

Key words

Two to five key words which can identify the most important subjects covered by the paper should be given in lowercase letters and separated by commas at the end of the abstract.

Introduction

The manuscript should include a brief introduction stating the purpose of the paper, outlining the essential background and stating the nature of the hypothesis under consideration.

Materials and Methods

The following must be clearly described:

Selection of subjects: For experiments or field trials, the source and number of subjects (animals, groups, farms) in the study, the process for their selection and specific criteria for inclusion/exclusion. Procedures used to determine sample size should be described, preferably considering both study power and level of statistical significance in relation to anticipated biological outcomes.

Allocation to treatments: The method of randomisation used to allocate subjects to treatment groups must be described. If stratification, blocking, or matching are involved, these should be clearly described and considered in the analysis and presentation of results.

Surveys. Study design (retrospective, cross-sectional, etc), definition of target and sample populations, sampling methods used, and evidence that the sample population is representative of the target population must be indicated. Where relevant, measures taken to maximize the participation rate, and validation procedures should be described. A copy of the questionnaire should be provided.

Statistical Analysis. Analytical methods should be appropriate for the study design, and the unit of analysis (e.g. individual animal, group or pen, farm, etc) and outcome variables stated unambiguously. When several analytical methods are used, it should be clearly stated where each method was applied. Two-sided tests should be used unless a strong argument is presented to justify a one-sided test. Complex procedures should be explained in detail or referenced. Software packages used should be identified by name, version and supplier, e.g. SPSS version 9.0 for Windows (SPSS Inc, Chicago IL, USA).

Results

All items referred to in Materials and methods should be presented in Results and vice versa. Results section should state the results and draw attention in the text to important details shown in tables and figures (Tables and Figures should be designed to maximize the comprehension of the experimental data).

Descriptive statistics: Measures of central tendency (e.g. mean, median) must be accompanied by measures of variation among individuals (e.g. standard deviation (SD), interquartile range) or precision for population estimates, e.g. standard error of the mean (SEM). For ordered qualitative data that do not approximate to a continuous linear measure, the use of means and SE or SD is invalid, and proportions should be stated. CI must be presented for population parameters, and estimates of effect such as OR and RR. For comparative studies, CI for observed differences should be reported rather than separate CI for each comparison group.

Hypothesis tests: Overemphasis on p-values to dichotomise significant and non-significant results is discouraged. Interpretation of hypothesis tests should consider study power, type-1 error rate (e.g. 0.05), sample size, effect size with confidence intervals and biological significance.

Multiple comparisons should include an appropriate adjustment to control type-1 error.

Post hoc power analysis may be helpful in some studies. P-values from post hoc analyses or modelling of multiple explanatory variables (e.g. in epidemiological studies of risk factors) should be considered as exploratory and not equivalent to tests of pre-specified hypotheses.

Discussion

This section should explain clearly the interpreted results and should place them in the context of the existing knowledge in the field.

Conclusions

The section should be used to briefly summarize the main findings of the study.

Acknowledgment

This section should be kept at the end of the manuscript before reference section to acknowledge funding, or significant contribution to the research.

Where funding or support has been provided from a commercial source or a conflict or competing interest exists amongst authors, the role of the named parties in the experimental design, implementation, analysis, interpretation of results, reporting and decision to publish must be declared.

The Editor will determine whether any of the material disclosed should be published as part of the article in a section preceding the Acknowledgements entitled, “Declaration of Interest”.

References

All articles cited in the text must be included in the References list and vice versa. Abstracts should not be cited as references. The use of “unpublished data” or “personal communications” is only permitted if these exist in written form, and these may be referred to in the text, but must not appear in the reference list. References to papers which have been accepted but not published should be cited as “in press”, whereas papers which have been submitted but not accepted should be referred to as “unpublished data”.

Reference to reports and trial data that appear in non-peer-reviewed sources is generally only permitted in the following circumstances: (a) where similar references to peer-reviewed sources are not available; (b) cited publications are less than 2 years old, and; (c) where authors clearly indicate the nature of these sources when cited (e.g. as non-peer-reviewed or preliminary reports) to distinguish them from peer-reviewed sources for readers. Self-referencing to non-peer-reviewed sources is strongly discouraged.

Referees are asked to scrutinise the use of non-peer-reviewed references and make recommendations regarding their acceptability, and to suggest more appropriate references if these exist.