The arbitrating reviewer is responsible for consolidating the two review forms. The arbitrator will independently read the scientific article and corresponding media article prior to receiving the reviews from the two primary reviewers. The third reviewer will then have the task of consolidating the two independent review forms into a single (third) separate review form. The third reviewer will also be responsible for reviewing and consolidating any comments that were made in the two extraction forms. It is important to note that the priority at this stage is consolidation and not for a third review of the documents.
In the case that the arbitrator believes that the reviews cannot be adequately reconciled and/or needs clarity from one or more of the reviews, there are several avenues in which the conflict between review forms may be resolved. This method of consolidation chosen will be left to the discretion of the arbitrator. All communication between the arbitrator and the primary reviewers will be through administrators via e-mail, preserving the anonymity of the reviewers.
- In cases when the arbitrator strongly agrees with the response of one reviewer over the other, particularly where the arbitrator believes that a key argument has been missed by one reviewer, the arbitrator can make simply make the final decision.
- In cases where the arbitrator does not fully understand comments or responses from either primary reviewer, the arbitrator may ask clarification from the primary reviewers through a standardized form.
- The arbitrator may email both primary reviewers with both of the responses to the relevant question (including the other reviewer’s response). The arbitrator may then ask the primary reviewers to revise their responses to aid in resolution. In this case, any deviation from the reviewers’ original submission will be noted in a comment in the published dataset results.
Both the two primary reviews and the arbitrator-consolidated review will be preserved and made publicly available at the time of publication.