Peer Review Process

This section provides a brief overview of the peer review process at Chinese Clinical Oncology (CCO).

1. Review criteria

Manuscripts are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • the material is original and timely;
  • the manuscript is written clearly and in accordance with the guidelines for authors;
  • appropriate study methods have been used;
  • the data are valid;
  • the conclusions are reasonable and well supported by the data;
  • the information contained in the manuscript is important, topical, and medically relevant.

2. Peer review mode

CCO uses double-blind peer review, which means the identity of both the reviewer and the author are kept unknown to each other throughout the review process.

Normally, every manuscript is reviewed by at least two reviewers. However, sometimes the opinions of more reviewers are sought. Peer reviewers are selected based on their expertise and ability to provide high quality, constructive, and fair reviews. For research manuscripts, the editors may, in addition, seek the opinion of a statistical reviewer.

The existence of a manuscript under review should not be revealed to anyone other than the peer reviewers and editorial staff. Peer reviewers are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to the manuscripts they review and must not divulge any information about a specific manuscript or its content to any third party without prior permission from the journal’s editors.

Information from submitted manuscripts may be systematically collected and analyzed to help improve the quality of the editorial or peer-review processes. Identifying information remains confidential. Final decisions regarding the publication of manuscripts are made by the Editorial Office.

3. Provenance and peer review

CCO is committed to transparency. For articles that are commissioned, undergo rapid communication pathway (fast-track peer process) or published without external peer review (usually non-research articles, e.g., editorials, interviews, or other editorial materials), there will be a “Provenance and Peer Review” statement in the footnote of the article, indicating whether it is commissioned or not and how the review was organized (e.g., with or without external peer review).

The Rapid Communication Pathway may be open for articles that are of exceptional clinical importance and urgency, of a public policy reason for urgent publication, or with previous peer review comments and revisions after rejection from another esteemed journal.

4. Transparent peer review

With a commitment to openness and accountability, and to increase the level of transparency throughout our peer review process, our editorial office has decided to fully implement the transparent peer review (TPR) process for all new submission from March 15, 2023.

For more detailed information, please refer to:

5. Online review system

To ensure the most convenient and efficient peer review process possible, our peer reviews are conducted electronically via the OJS system, which can be accessed through the journal’s website (

6. Recognition for reviewers

CCO’s publisher AME has entered into an official partnership with Publons, as of April 2020. The partnership enables the contributions of our expert peer reviewers to be easily recognized. CCO’s peer review system is now integrated seamlessly into the Publons platform:. As part of the review submission process, reviewers of CCO can now opt-in to Publons, and the review data can be transferred to Publons upon submission. For more information, please refer to:

7. Peer review flowchart

  1. Handling Editors pass the submitted manuscript to the Editor(s)-in-Chief.
  2. Depending on the topic of the submitted manuscript, the Editor(s)-in-Chief passes the article to the Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief/Associate Editor or an Editorial Board member with related expertise.
  3. The assigned Editorial Board members with related expertise review the manuscript or recommend external reviewers to the Editorial Office. A literature search may be conducted to identify appropriate external experts.
  4. External experts review the manuscript.
  5. The external experts make recommendations.
  6. The recommendations are sent to the Editor(s)-in-Chief, along with a review from the assigned Associate Editor and member of the Editorial Board.
  7. The Editor(s)-in-Chief makes a decision on the manuscript, for which there are four options: accept, minor revision, major revision, or reject.

8. Peer review for papers submitted by the journal’s editorial team member (Editor-in-Chief/Guest Editor/Editorial Board Member/ etc.) or for a special series

Editorials, news items and interviews written by the journal's own editors do not undergo external peer review. Articles reporting original research, analysis or other features done by the editors are independently peer reviewed.

To assure impartial decision-making and to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, authors with a position in the journal’s editorial team will be excluded from any editorial handling of their manuscript (including reviewing, editing, and the final decision). Besides, editors are not involved in decisions about papers which have been written by family members or colleagues or which relate to products or services in which the editor has an interest. Any such submission is subject to all of the journal's usual procedures, with peer review handled independently of the relevant editor and their research groups. For example, articles from the Editor-in-Chief will be assigned to an Associate Editor or, in cases where the Associate Editor is not available, to an Editorial Board Member with related expertise. After the review comments have been received from external reviewers, the manuscript will be returned to the Associate Editor or Editorial Board Member to make a final decision.

For submission from an editorial team member of the journal or for a special series, if accepted, the following information will be included in the footnote.

  1. Conflicts of Interest: declaration of author’s relation with the journal apart from completing the COI form from ICMJE; whether the special series contains sponsorship.
  2. Peer review file (if the manuscript has undergone peer review): transparent peer process become a must and the review comments will be published along with the article.

In addition, starting from May 6, 2023, for organization of a new special series, journal policy recused the Guest Editor from having any role in the peer review of all manuscripts included in his led special series to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

9. Submission turnaround time

  • In-house review: 1-3 weeks
  • External peer review: 1-3 months
  • Publication ahead of print: within 1 month after being accepted
  • Formal publication: within 1-3 months after being accepted.

Note: Original Articles are listed as priority.

Updated on February 4, 2024