Guidelines for reviewers


Aim for Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine

Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine aims to be a leading worldwide forum for research in physical and rehabilitation medicine, aiming to increase knowledge in evidence-based clinical rehabilitation. Contributions from all parts of the world and from different professions in rehabilitation are encouraged. It is the official journal of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM), the UEMS European Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (EBPRM), and the European Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine (EARM) and also published in association with the European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM), Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (CAPM&R), Asia Oceania Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (AOSPRM) and Baltic and North Sea Forum for Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (BNFPRM).


About the published material

Original articles, being the majority of published papers, Reviews (including Educational reviews), Special reports, Short communications, Case reports, and Letters to the Editor are published. Clinical studies on rehabilitation in various patients groups, within neurological and musculoskeletal as well as in other relevant rehabilitation areas, reports on physical and behavioural treatment methodology, including rehabilitation technology, development and analysis of methodology for outcome measurements, epidemiological studies on disability in relation to rehabilitation, and studies on vocational and socio-medical aspects of rehabilitation will be considered for publication. The journal emphasizes the need for randomized controlled studies of various rehabilitation interventions, the use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a background for reports when appropriate, and the use of modern psychometric methodology in treating and reporting data from ordinal scales. Reports using qualitative methodology are also accepted, providing that the length of the paper is within the stipulated range.

Review papers

In Review papers, which may be invited or non-invited, different current aspects should be covered, and systematic reviews are given priority. The Educational reviews – also published in cooperation with ISPRM and EBPRM – aim to cover recent development in key areas of rehabilitation presented with an educational as well as scientific approach.  See further in Guidelines for reviews. Special reports can cover current aspects of rehabilitation, such as papers on treatment procedures, organization, education, or of professional political nature, not being strictly scientific. In Letters to the Editor previous published papers may be commented, but also new topics may be taken up in a short form. For short communications and case report see Instructions to authors concerning their length.

We will in the editing process make additional language corrections, but sometimes the authors must first present better English before acceptance of the manuscript.

The review process

We are trying to reduce the time from submission to publication, in which the review process is a crucial factor. We will therefore urge you as reviewer to either return the manuscript immediately if you are unable to review it or try to keep the time asked for in the covering letter to you. We have at present a high rejection rate due to the large number of submitted manuscripts. Normally, articles should not exceed 9 printed pages (approximately 4000 words without references and tables/figures), thus we have often to ask the authors to shorten the papers and try to reduce the number of tables and figures and to limit the number of the references. The Editor may sometimes reject papers, in spite of the recommendations given by the reviewers, and we have to take the relevance of the paper for the rehabilitation field especially into consideration.

Being a peer-reviewed journal, the quality and content of the journal depends crucially on reviews of submitted articles done by at least two independent and anonymous reviewers from or outside the Editorial Board. We therefore highly appreciate your efforts in helping us to review manuscripts. There are two main aims of the peer review: To assist in selecting papers for publication and to support the improvement of the papers.

Please give your comments in the online web-based form


What to put emphasize on as a reviewer

We will ask you to rate the paper concerning:

- Design and quality of data

- Adequate discussion and conclusion

- Methodology

- Importance of the study with respect to new information or valuable confirmation


Checklist when reviewing papers:



General questions:

  • Do I have any conflict of interest with the contents of this paper? Are there any potential biases in reviewing this manuscript? If so, inform the Editor immediately.
  • Has the manuscript been previously published?
  • Was this research worth being performed? Does the research address an important (and useful) problem?
  • Is the manuscript of appropriate length (relative to information content)?


  • Is the title informative about the contents of the paper? Can it be improved to increase the interest to read the article?
  • Does the title contain the key information on the manuscript (topic, methodological strengths, main results)?
  • Is the title realistic and correct with regard to the contents of the paper?


  • Does the abstract respect the rules of the journal, as being structured and not exceeding 200 words?
  • Does the abstract appropriately summarize the manuscript? Are there discrepancies between the abstract and the remainder of the manuscript?
  • Can the abstract be understood without reading the manuscript?


  • Is the Introduction concise?
  • Is the purpose of the study clearly defined?
  • Do the authors provide a rationale for performing the study based on a review of the medical literature? If so, is it of the appropriate length and depth?
  • If this manuscript is Original Report, is there a well-defined hypothesis?


  • Could another investigator reproduce the study using the methods as outlined or are the methods unclear?
  • Do the authors justify any choices available to them in their study design (e.g. choices of imaging techniques, analytic tools, or statistical methods)?
  • If the authors have stated a hypothesis, have they designed methods that could reasonably allow their hypothesis to be tested?


  • Are the results clearly explained?
  • Does the order of presentation of the results parallel the order of presentation of the methods?
  • Are the results reasonable and expected, or are they unexpected?
  • Are there any results presented that are not preceded by an appropriate description of the methodology in the Methods section?
  • Are results duplicated in text, tables and/or figures?




  • Is the discussion concise? If not, how should it be shortened?
  • If a hypothesis was proposed, do the authors state whether it was confirmed or disproved? Alternatively, if no hypothesis was proposed, do the authors state whether their research question was answered?
  • Are the authors’ conclusions justified by the results found in the study?
  • If there are unexpected results, do the authors adequately account for them?
  • Do the authors note merits and limitations of the study? Are there additional limitations that should be noted?


  • Does the reference list follow the format for the journal? Does it contain errors?
  • Have the authors appropriately represented the salient points in the articles cited as references? Alternatively, have the authors misquoted the references?
  • Are there important references that are not mentioned that should be noted?
  • Are there more references than are necessary? Note that the journal would not accept more than around 40 references, if not being a review paper when up to 100 may be published.

Figures and graphs:

  • Are the figures and graphs appropriate and are they appropriately labelled? Would a different figure better illustrate the findings?
  • Do the figures and graphs adequately show the important results?
  • Do the figure legends provide a clear explanation that allows the figures and graphs to be understood without referring to the remainder of the manuscript?


  • If there are tables, do they appropriately describe the results?
  • Should one or more tables be added or omitted? See above on further language correction in the editorial process.


  • Is a scientific and correct language used, correct spelling and a good and readable structure; correct and consistent style of citation?



In your comments to the authors, we would like you to start with some general aspects and a short summary of your comments on the paper. You should not give recommendations on rejection or acceptance, leave that to the special form to the Editor treated confidentially. Then give Major comments on the Abstract, Introduction, Methods and Materials, Results and Discussion. Finally, give Minor comments, on different parts of the manuscripts. However, if you consider the manuscript not possible to publish even after revision, you do not need to give too detailed comments to the authors. Comments to the Editor explaining your reasons for recommending Revision or Rejection are very welcome and are treated confidentially.