Reviewer Guidelines

The CAND Journal and its editors, authors, and readers appreciate your willingness to accept the responsibility of reviewing for the Journal, and along with the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), we thank you for your dedication to advancing knowledge in the field of naturopathic medicine.

We hope that these guidelines assist with making the process easier. For step-by-step instructions for submitting your review in the system, please visit our “Review Process and Instructions” page.

General Policies and Procedures

An online review form must be completed by all reviewers for the following manuscript types:

(Please see our Author Guidelines for additional explanation of these article types)

  • Original Research
  • Reviews
  • Short Reports
  • Case Reports
  • Perspectives

For all other articles types the reviewer must enter their review in two open text boxes, the first "for author and editor," and the second "for editor."

Authors submit their articles to the CANDJ electronically via our Open Journal Systems (OJS) submission system. Manuscripts will first be screened by the Editorial Assistant to determine whether they are properly prepared according to the Journal’s manuscription preparation requirements. Manuscripts that do not meet the standards of the Journal will be returned to the authors for revision and resubmission.

Once manuscript preparation requirements are met, the Editorial Staff will make a first assessment of the manuscript submitted and check whether it fits the aims and scope of the Journal and is of sufficient academic quality. Papers that pass the initial assessment by the Editorial Staff are sent to the Peer Review stage. All manuscripts at this stage (except for Editorials, Guest Editorials, Commentaries, Letters to the Editor, and CAND Position Statements) will be sent out for review and at least two review reports per manuscript will be collected. Reviewers will be asked to complete their review within three weeks and extensions may be granted on request.

This Journal uses a double-blind review process, which means the identities of the authors are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa. To facilitate this, authors must strictly adhere to our instructions for “Blinding for Peer Review” for Original Research, Reviews, Short Reports, Case Reports and Perspectives manuscript types.

On receipt of the invitation to review, you should immediately:

  • Read the Editor’s review request email, which includes the article abstract and any additional notes from the Editors, to determine whether the subject is within your area of expertise and whether you can complete the review within the timelines provided.
  • Click the link in the email or directly log on to OJS and either accept or decline the invitation to review.

If you decline the invitation to review

Pease suggest a colleague who may be able to review the article. If appropriate, the assigned Editor will send an invitation to review to that individual.

If you accept the invitation to review

You will have access to the article and any additional files (ie. Figures), and should immediately:

  • Double-check the manuscript to determine whether there is any conflict of interest for you. Reviewers must disclose to the Editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript and should recuse themselves from reviewing the manuscript if the potential for bias exists. As stated by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), reviewers should “declare any potentially conflicting or competing interests (which may, for example, be personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious), seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest.”
  • If you have either a time problem or a conflict of interest, contact the assigning Editor for instructions. The Editor may extend your deadline or cancel the review assignment as appropriate.

Additional general notes for reviewers

  1. Reviews must be done in strict confidence. Manuscripts under review may not be disclosed to a third party. If a reviewer wishes to solicit an opinion from a colleague, they should seek permission from the Editorial Staff beforehand. We generally welcome additional reviews and comments, but permission must be sought first.
  2. Note that the article provided to you for review is a privileged document and must remain confidential. Do not cite an article or refer to the work it describes before it has been published and do not use the information that it contains for the advancement of your own research or in discussions with colleagues.
  3. In your overall comments about the article intended for the author, in the box so labeled, organize your comments so that an introductory paragraph summarizes the major findings of the article, gives your overall impression of the paper, and highlights the major shortcomings. This paragraph should be followed by specific numbered comments, which may be separated into major and minor points. If you are asked to complete your review via an online review form, there is no need to duplicate your comment in the overall comments to the author, if you already entered comments under the specific category.
  4. To keep the integrity of the double-blind review process, ensure that any personal identifying information is stripped from any file before uploading it and is also excluded from the comments entered in the review form. Remove identifying information from file names and document properties using Document Inspector. For assistance, contact
  5. Criticism should always be presented objectively and intended to help the author(s) improve their paper; offensive remarks are not acceptable and personal criticism of the author(s) is inappropriate. Confidential remarks directed to the Editor, including suspected conflicts of interest, misconduct, plagiarism, or any other concerns, should be entered in the box so labeled.
  6. Advise the editor of your recommendation for acceptance, revision, or rejection by making the appropriate selection in the pulldown menu. Note that the final decision of an article rests solely with the Editorial Staff. Therefore, do not state your recommendation in the portion of the review that will be sent to the author.
  7. After completing your review, click the “Submit Review” button. We suggest that you compose your review using your normal word processor and copy/paste the review into the form. This will ensure that you have a local copy in case of computer error. Please save a copy of your review offline for your records before you enter it online. After successful completion of your review, it will be saved in your account within the OJS system.

The Review Process

When reviewing an article submitted to the CANDJ, we ask that you adopt a positive, impartial, but critical attitude toward the article under review, with the aim of promoting accurate and relevant scientific communication, while continuing to encourage our broad community of contributing Authors. Although comments must often be critical, they should always be professional and constructive in nature and never demeaning or personal.

You will be asked to consider the following aspects when reviewing an Original Research, Review, Short Report, Case Reports or Perspectives article type, where applicable:

  • Significance
  • Originality
  • Adequacy of title, abstract and introduction
  • Methodology and design
  • Results
  • Discussion and soundness of conclusions and interpretation
  • References
  • Appropriateness of tables
  • Appropriateness of figures
  • Writing quality
  • Organization
  • Adherence to the Author Guidelines
  • Adherence to the Journal’s Editorial Policies for Authors
  • Priority rating for publication

In addition to providing ratings based on the categories outlined, all reviewers are asked to enter comments explaining their ratings, so the author(s) understands how to correct. There is a space to enter specific comments for each above category, and following all categories, spaces are provided for overall comments for the author, and comments specific for the editor (optional).

For an open-text review, please consider the following aspects when reviewing a manuscript, where applicable:

  • Significance to the field
  • Originality
  • Appropriate literature citations
  • Organization
  • Adherence to the Author Guidelines
  • Adherence to the Journal’s Editorial Policies for Authors
  • Adequacy of title
  • Appropriateness of figures and tables
  • Length, general tone and readability

Whenever possible, comments should be actionable. The best reviews do not just critique but suggest specific ways for the authors to address the concerns raised.

You are not required to correct deficiencies of style or grammar, as this will be completed in the copyediting stage should the manuscript be accepted for publication. However, copyeditors are not subject matter experts and it is appropriate for reviewers to critique and comment on the writing and grammar if it will make the paper more readable and understandable.

Although the Editors of the CANDJ may be able to note a violation of publication policy or ethical conduct after publication, we rely on the reviewers to detect such problems before publication. The Journal’s publication policies are described in the Author Guidelines (see “Editorial Policies for Authors”). Reviewers are required to communicate suspicions of policy or ethical issues directly to the assigned Editor for investigation and resolution.

Reviewer’s Recommendation

Reviewers are required to suggest acceptability of an article as noted on the review form (e.g., accept; revisions required (accept after minor revisions); decline submission; resubmission required). However, since editorial decisions are usually based on evaluations from several sources, reviewers should not expect the Editors to honour every recommendation. Note that the default decision options in OJS for our reviewers are:

  • Accept Submission: Accept the manuscript in its present form, there is no need for author to submit a revision. Some minor copyediting may be necessary, but this can be caught at the copyediting stage.
  • Revisions Required: The manuscript requires minor content and/or editorial changes before it is suitable for publication. Revised manuscripts do not require a second round of review by the reviewers.
  • Resubmit for Review: The paper contains one or more serious problems, and if corrected might result in a generally acceptable manuscript. Resubmitted manuscripts typically are reviewed again by the Editors and reviewers.
  • Resubmit Elsewhere: The content of the manuscript does not fit the scope of the journal but may be suited for another publication.
  • Decline Submission: The content, style, and/or preparation of the manuscript are flawed to the extent that it is unlikely that revisions can render the manuscript suitable for publication.
  • See Comments: If none of the above recommendations make sense, you can leave a comment for the Editors detailing your concerns.

Following your original review and recommendation, and subsequent revisions of the manuscript by the authors, the Editors may ask you to assess the manuscript again to ensure all your points have been addressed adequately.