Guidelines for Reviewers

Role of Review Panel Members

Peer reviewers for Perspectives in Health Information Management (PHIM) have an important role in reviewing manuscripts and helping inform the editors about the suitability of manuscripts for publication in Perspectives in Health Information Management.

Manuscripts will only be published in PHIM if reviewers judge them to be of a sufficiently high quality of scholarship. By ensuring high standards, we intend that PHIM will become the foremost journal for research about health information management and will be accepted by scholars as a rigorously edited journal.

Peer Reviewer Training Webinar Available

The webinar “The Peer Review Process for Scholarly Journals” is appropriate for current reviewers looking to refresh their skills as well as new professionals interested in becoming a reviewer for scholarly journals. This webinar will train reviewers on assessing the quality of articles submitted for publication using specific standards and tools. Access the recorded event.

Manuscript Distribution

Manuscripts are distributed as they are received. If reviewers have a conflict of interest or have prior commitments that would make it impossible to complete the review in a timely manner, contact the journal manager to explain the situation.

Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest

The unpublished manuscript is a privileged document. The manuscript may not be cited or referred to before it has been published. Do not use the information it contains for the advancement of your own research. To maintain the impartiality of our review process, determine whether there is any conflict of interest for you and whether you can judge an individual manuscript impartially. If you believe that you cannot be impartial, please return it to the editor immediately with an explanation.

Reviewing Timeline

Use the Manuscript Peer Review Form to evaluate the manuscript. Return the form within three weeks of receipt of the manuscript. For maximum efficiency, we recommend that you review a manuscript within five days of receipt. Reviewers should be familiar with the Style and Submission Guidelines for PHIM.


Review the manuscript review form prior to reading the manuscript. Complete each item on the manuscript review form.

Making Recommendations

Consider these guidelines when making a recommendation to accept or reject. Remember that revision may move a manuscript up the scale and greatly improve its likelihood for acceptance. Only rarely are manuscripts accepted without some revisions.

  • Accept without revisions—The manuscript contains new, timely information; data is clearly presented; discussions and conclusions flow logically from data; title and length are appropriate; good language and readability; citations complete.
  •  Accept with minor revisions—The manuscript requires only minor revisions and re-review may not be necessary. The manuscript has no major flaws in concept or logic; it adds some new information; the analysis is appropriate; language is good; citations are reasonable.
  • Major revisions required—The material is already well described in literature; re-review necessary; study organization, data collection, or methods are flawed; analysis inadequate or inappropriate; disconnect between data and conclusions; incomplete or excessive citations.
  • Rework and submit elsewhere/reject—Revision is unlikely to lead to acceptance; flawed beyond repair or not appropriate for PHIM.

Be Alert to Ethical Issues

In addition to the quality of research, we ask reviewers to note possible breaches of publication policy or ethical conduct such as:

  • Plagiarism—Material is copied from another source without attestation, reference, or permission
  • Missing or incomplete references: The author has not given proper credit to previously published ideas or data. References are missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
  • Dual submission—Be wary of attempts to submit or publish similar material more than once. This act is often difficult to detect, but checking literature citations, as well as having a critical eye, is helpful.
  • Conflicts of interest—Be aware of possible conflicts of interest on the part of the authors.

Comments to the Editor

Your critique: (e.g., criticism, arguments, suggestions) concerning the manuscript are most useful to the editor if they are carefully documented. If there are errors, try to indicate all of them unless they are too numerous and the manuscript is recommended for rejection.

Suggested revisions should be described as such and not expressed as conditions of acceptance. Remarks should reflect positive and negative comments. We are interested in learning about the positive contributions that this manuscript can make to PHIM readers and to the HIM body of knowledge, as well as any intellectual or stylistic problems that must be resolved. Who must read this manuscript and why? How does this manuscript advance our understanding of its key topics? How well does it build upon previous research and thinking about its topic?

The manuscript will be copy edited before publication. This will include correcting spelling errors and grammar to ensure that the manuscripts conform to AHIMA Foundation and Chicago Manual of Style requirements.

We do ask that Reviewers be vigilant about errors that copy editors might miss, such as the use of scientific jargon, use of outmoded terminology, and use of misspelled, incorrect, or outdated scientific terms. The editor gratefully receives a reviewer’s recommendations, but because the editorial decisions are usually based on evaluations derived from several sources, a reviewer should not expect the editor to honor his or her every recommendation.

It is recommended that you make a copy of the review for your files. The manuscript may be returned to you for a second review, particularly if the requested modification was extensive.

Comments to the Author

For the benefit of the author, please frame your comments in a constructive and professional manner.  Do not state in “remarks to authors” whether the manuscript should be accepted or rejected. Manuscripts should be evaluated on current content and not on what the reviewers think that the author should have done.

Please distinguish between revisions considered essential and those judged merely desirable.

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