Reviewer Guidelines


All unpublished articles are confidential documents; please do not discuss them with anyone. If you are sent an article that is outside your areas of interest or expertise, or if reviewing the article presents a potential conflict of interest, please inform the editor and decline the invitation to review it.

In the interest of providing a fair, helpful, and rigorous review, reviewers should disclose to the editor any conflicts of interest that may exist and should not review specific manuscripts if, after consultation, they determine that there is reasonable potential for errors in judgment.

Manuscripts and reviews submitted to the Canadian Medical Education Journal may be used for teaching and research purposes.

In your review, please attend primarily to the scientific merits of the paper and the clarity of writing. If English is not the author's first language and the English needs editing, please mention this to the editor. However, such an article should not be declined if it is otherwise worthy of consideration. You do not need to check or correct spelling, language, or grammatical errors unless they affect the clarity of the content. Articles will be edited and re-formatted by journal staff before publication.

A review form is provided for you to indicate your recommendation to decline, accept, or require revisions to the manuscript, as well as your detailed comments to the author. The latter will be forwarded to the author, even if the manuscript is ultimately declined. Your comments should address both the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript and offer helpful suggestions for improvement. Click here for a sample You Should Try This! review form.

The reviewer guidelines will appear when you accept the review request. To complete the review, you may either enter your comments into the free-text box in Step 4, or copy and paste the template into a Word document and save it on your computer. When completed, you can upload the document to the review page in Step 5. Please do not sign your name. Before uploading your review to the CMEJ site, it must be blinded by removing your name from Document Properties in the file.

The following general points are important to consider:

  • Does the manuscript present important/useful/interesting information to the reader?
  • Does the manuscript make a contribution to new knowledge?
  • Does the content of the manuscript reflect the title and the abstract?
  • Does the conclusion provide answers to the study objectives?
  • Is the writing clear, concise, and easy to follow?


The title should be as brief as possible while still reflecting the content of the paper. It should not contain abbreviations or acronyms (except in brackets after the full name).


Does the abstract adequately describe the content of the paper? If it is a research paper, does it follow the required structure:

  • Introduction (background and purpose of the study)
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion/Conclusion


Does the introduction clearly state the purpose of the study and provide appropriate background from the existing literature?


Does this section clearly describe the study design and the reasons why it was chosen, the participants and sampling method, the instruments used, the procedures followed, and the statistical procedures used to analyze the data?  Did the authors obtain research ethics approval and participant consent?


Are the results presented clearly and supported by tables and/or figures where appropriate? Are the statistical data complete, presented clearly, and in the correct notation?


Does this section clarify the meaning and implications of the results and how the results relate to the research question? Are the limitations of the study acknowledged? Are suggestions made for further research? 

Conflict of Interest

Have the authors disclosed any conflict of interest or funding for the work in question?  Do these raise concerns for the reviewer?


Are the references appropriate for the content of the manuscript? Is the number of references adequate? Are they in the proper citation format for medical journals? If not, you do not need to correct them but please mention it in your comments.

Tables and Figures

Are the tables structured logically and do they clearly present the results of the study? Are the figures easy to read and follow? Is there too much or too little information in the tables or figures?

Resources for Reviewers

The following resources are available on the internet:

1. Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals:

2. Benos DJ, Kirk KL, Hall JE. How to review a paper. ADV Physiology Educ. 2003; 27:47-52.

3. Black N, van Rooyen S, Godlee F, Smith R, and Evans S. What makes a good reviewer and a good review for a general medical journal? JAMA 1998; 280:231-233.

4.  Harden M, Wright K, Misso K. How to review a paper. J Health Serv Res Policy 2009: 14:255-256.

5.  Archibald D, Martimianakis MA. Writing, reading, and critiquing reviews. Can. Med. Ed. J. 2021Jun.30; 12(3):1-7.

Group Reviews:

CMEJ accepts group/team reviews. This is a very good way to have many people contribute to reviews and learn from the exercise. Often these are small groups of learners working under the supervision or tutelage of a more experienced scholar.

· Each person privy to the manuscript must treat is with care and confidentiality.

There are a few ways to manage this arrangement:

A. Independent reviewers confer

· Two or more people are each independently invited to review a submission

o each completes the review independently

o they confer, compare their reviews, and discuss the manuscript

o each one modifies their review and submits it to the journal independently

B. Reviewers collaborate on one review

· One person is invited to review and shares the experience with others

o Each completes a draft review on their own

o They confer, compare their reviews, and discuss the manuscript

o They collaborate on one review that is submitted by one person

· The same person can act as the “official” reviewer each time or the responsibility and credit can be circulated and shared with each additional review

C. Potential reviewers

o Graduate students enrolled within a course: research or overview of medical education
o Participants in a faculty development workshop
o Members of a medical education community of practice