“Priority criteria in peer review of scientific articles” by Olgica Nedić and Aleksandar Dekanski published online in Scientometrics on 2nd February 2016.
Here is the abstract.
Number of researchers, journals and articles has significantly increased in the last few years and peer review is still the most reliable instrument to sort out innovative, valuable, scientifically sound information from the pool of submitted results. Editors and publishers join their efforts to improve peer review process and to be able to do so properly, they need “field information” from contributors. Editorial board of the Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society performed its own survey to find out what reviewers recognize as priority criteria in manuscript evaluation and whether the professional background (title, number of years in research or experience in reviewing) influences these criteria. Most reviewers declared that they consider peer review as an essential component of the scientific professionalism. Scientific contribution and originality were the most important criteria in the evaluation of papers. Most reviewers preferred to see conclusions completely supported by experimental data, without additional speculations. Although there were no large differences between early stage and experienced researchers, early stage researchers and less experienced reviewers used grade 5 (indicating the highest priority) much more often in their evaluation of priority criteria than experienced researchers and/or reviewers, suggesting possible evolution of tolerance with experience.