Peer review is the system for evaluating the quality, validity, and relevance of scholarly research. The process aims to provide authors with constructive feedback from relevant experts which they can use to make improvements to their work, thus ensuring it is of the highest standard possible.
The Review Process
The steps below are the high-level steps in the review process.
As a reviewer, you will be notified by e-mail of an invitation to review a manuscript.
Double-check the manuscript title page and the Acknowledgments section to determine whether there is any conflict of interest for you (with the authors, their institution, or their funding sources) and whether you can judge the article impartially.
Abstract - Has this been provided (if required)? Does it adequately summarize the key findings/approach of the paper?
Length - Reviewers are asked to consider whether the content of a paper is of sufficient interest to justify its length. Each paper should be of the shortest length required to contain all useful and relevant information, and no longer.
Originality - Is the work relevant and novel? Does it contain significant additional material to that already published?
Presentation - Is the writing style clear and appropriate to the readership? Are any tables or graphics clear to read and labeled appropriately?
References - Does the paper contain the appropriate referencing to provide adequate context for the present work?
Once you've read the paper and have assessed its quality, you need to make a recommendation to the editor regarding publication. The specific decision types used by a journal may vary but the key decisions are:
Accept - if the paper is suitable for publication in its current form.
Minor revision - if the paper will be ready for publication after light revisions. Please list the revisions you would recommend the author makes.
Major revision - if the paper would benefit from substantial changes such as expanded data analysis, widening of the literature review, or rewriting sections of the text.
Reject - if the paper is not suitable for publication with this journal or if the revisions that would need to be undertaken are too fundamental for the submission to continue being considered in its current form.
In your comments intended for the author, do not make statements about the acceptability of a paper (see the next paragraph); suggested revisions should be stated as such and not expressed as conditions of acceptance. Organize your review so that an introductory paragraph summarizes the major findings of the article, gives your overall impression of the paper, and highlights the major shortcomings. This paragraph should be followed by specific, numbered comments, which, if appropriate, may be subdivided into major and minor points. (The numbering facilitates both the editor's letter to the author and evaluation of the author's rebuttal.) Criticism should be presented dispassionately; offensive remarks are not acceptable.
Sometimes you will be asked to review a paper when you do not have sufficient time available. In this situation, you should make the editorial office aware that you are unavailable as soon as possible. It is very helpful if you are able to recommend an alternative expert or someone whose opinion you trust.
If you are unable to complete your report on a paper in the agreed time-frame required by the journal, please inform the editorial office as soon as possible so that the refereeing procedure is not delayed.
Make the editors aware of any potential conflicts of interest that may affect the paper under review.
Decision of the Editorial Board is final regarding publication of any manuscript.