The SAIMM is a professional institute with local and international links aimed at assisting members source information about technological developments in the mining, metallurgical and related sectors.
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Guidelines for Referees


Referees are asked to adjudicate on the suitability of a paper for publication in the Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The Journal).

Papers that are accepted will generally contain work of a scientific research and development nature that reports advances in mining, minerals and metals technology. Papers may have been sourced from conference and seminar presentations of the Institute. Papers that are descriptive in nature should provide a new contribution to technology that is of economic importance. Papers that contain updates and reviews of current research work, processes and equipment should have a clear description of the current position and a resume of the likely future direction with respect to the technology and/or the economics.

There are three criteria, which apply with slightly differing interpretations, as follows:


Referees are asked to provide a quantitative rating between 0 - 10 for this criterion.

The paper should make a new contribution by scientific research and development to basic or applied knowledge. At the other end of the scale, papers that are trivial in content, i.e. that merely replicate known results and conclusions, or are obvious or inconsequential, should not be accepted. Papers that merely record data without deriving useful conclusions are, in general, also unacceptable. Reporting negative results or work that proved to be unsuccessful is also generally not acceptable unless these represent a surprising or unusual departure from accepted concepts. However, controversial results and conclusions if scientifically well founded are of great importance in publications and should receive a high rating.
The referees must carefully watch for attempts to use the publication merely as a means of advertising known products or services. In this instance, the paper should represent a new contribution to technology of economic importance. Long detailed descriptions of mines or plants comprising standard and well-known components or techniques are not acceptable.
In the case of a review article, it should be reasonably comprehensive and indicate worthwhile new advances, new directions for research and deficiencies in knowledge. A review article merely recording published work without any critical comments and conclusions is not acceptable.


Referees are asked to provide a quantitative rating between 0 - 10 for this criterion.

The scientific community is increasingly concerned with the number of fraudulent results and conclusions being published. However, it is impossible for most referees to check in detail the scientific validity of all papers but the following guidelines will help to assess the validity of results.

2.1 Sufficient details of the experimental methods should be given to enable those skilled in the art to repeat the experiments that are reported.

2.2 Where appropriate, the precision, accuracy and repeatability of results should be clearly indicated and discussed in terms of standard statistical methods.

2.3 There should be a clear indication of the original work of the author as compared with that of others and appropriate references should be given to the work of others.

2.4 The origin of samples and to which they are adequately representative should be indicated.

2.5 Where computerised recording and interpretation of data are used the precautions taken to calibrate, standardise and check the accuracy of these systems should be indicated.

2.6 The relevance of conclusions derived by extrapolation and interpolation of data in the form of graphs and figures should be discussed.

2.7 Records of data from plants and processes should be available for inspection and certification of summarised results.

2.8 The variability of feed and processed materials and of plants operating characteristics should be indicated.

2.9 Sampling and analytical methods and their validity should be indicated.

2.10 Important operating parameters such as on-line factors, breakdown problems and the durability of plants should be discussed and where appropriate, economic considerations should be referred to.

2.11 Critical comment should be made on the validity of the work under review.

2.12 Accuracy and precision of results should be discussed with an error analysis where appropriate.


Referees are asked to provide a qualitative rating between 0-10 for this criterion.

The Institute has publishing standards for papers that are submitted to the Journal. It is important that these standards be maintained. The Institute is prepared to undertake a reasonable amount of grammatical editorial work on papers that are received from non-English speaking countries. Spelling and grammatical/idiomatic errors should not be heavily penalised. However, it is the responsibility of the author(s) to provide a manuscript in acceptable English. The amount of editorial work that will be undertaken depends on the “value” of the paper. If the paper would be of great interest to Members then it is worthwhile for the Institute to attend to the grammar and English. Please comment as necessary. Nevertheless all categories of papers should conform to the following requirements:

  • An abstract or synopsis of no more than 250 words giving a clear and meaningful summary of the principal objectives and scope of the work; the methodology; the results and conclusions. This is of particular importance should the abstract be made available on the SAIMM web site.
  • No more than six keywords.
  • Conciseness and avoidance of long-winded and repetitive writing.
  • Appropriate phraseology and clarity of concepts.
  • Correct use of scientific terminology, units and conversions regarding equations and references.
  • Properly presented diagrams and tables with appropriate headings, designation of axes and legibility of data.
  • The Journal encourages articles with a South African flavour, and recommends that authors cite previous South African work to demonstrate their relevance. Whenever possible authors should add 2 to 3 related references that have been previously published in the Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.


Papers that are written by Members of the Institute and are published in the Journal are eligible for recognition by the awarding of the Institute’s Gold or Silver Medal and a Certificate of Merit. 

4.1 Criteria for the award of a Gold Medal
The Gold Medal will be awarded to Members of the Institute who have submitted papers of distinction. The papers should be of world-class standard, and judged to be publications that will become key future references in either the mining or metallurgical field. They will usually display a considerable degree of originality in their subject matter, but this is not an essential criterion for the award. The presentation should be of a very high order and should do credit to the proceedings of the Institute.

4.2 Criteria for the award of a Silver Medal
The Silver Medal will be awarded to members of the Institute who have submitted papers which have made a considerable contribution to the industry but did not necessarily display a particular degree of originality or research. It is recognised that the very high standards needed to justify the award of a gold medal must not be compromised. On the other hand, it is equally important to recognize that there will be important papers presented which make a major contribution to the professions of mining and metallurgy and to the prestige of our Institute which falls short of the gold medal standard in spite of their merit. The topics that might be covered will also be broader than highly innovative papers to be considered for the award of gold medals.

4.3 Certificate of Merit
The Certificate of Merit would be awarded, in conjunction with a gold or silver medal, to co-authors of prize-winning papers who are not members of the Institute.

If you feel that the paper you are refereeing meets any of the above criteria then please include your appropriate comments.


Referees are required to make available their comments and ratings on the attached Adjudication Form. The referee’s comments only will be sent to the author(s) to assist the author(s) with the final preparation of the paper. If the paper is adjudged by the referees and the Publications Committee to be unacceptable, then the referee’s comments as to the reason for non-acceptance would be supplied to the author(s).

When a referee returns an annotated copy of the paper with the adjudication form, the referee is requested to ensure that the comments on the annotated copy are constructive. This is not the place for sarcasm or denigration.

Referees will remain unknown to the author, but they should be prepared to discuss their comments with members of the Journal Publications Committee. If the referee wishes to discuss a paper with the author, he/she may do so at his/her discretion. Please notify the Journal co-ordinator of such a decision.