Peer Review Process
Received manuscripts will be handled by one of the Editors. The papers can be directly rejected by the Editor-in-Chief due to their low quality or because it does not fit the topics of the journal. Revised or modified versions of papers already rejected will not be considered. Then, the manuscript will be assigned to one of the Section Editors who can also reject the paper.
After this process, the paper will be sent to, at least, two external referees in a blind peer review. The editor will send the author(s) the reports made by the referees. On this occasion, the Section Editor or the Editor-in-Chief can also propose some modifications to the paper. Then the author should send the revised version of the paper. The Section Editor proposes the publication of the paper to the Editors-in-Chief and the final decision is adopted.
Step 1. Research the journal
Visit the journal homepage to get a sense of the journal’s content. This will help you decide whether the paper you’re reviewing is suitable for the journal or not. Refer to the Instructions for Authors to check if the paper meets the submission criteria of the journal (e.g. length, scope, and presentation).
Step 2. Write your review report
The two main factors you should provide advice on are:
- The originality, presentation, and relevance of the manuscript’s subject matter to the readership of the journal
- The accuracy of the methodology.
Here is a checklist to consider when reading the manuscript:
- First read-through
- Detailed review – Research articles
- Final checks – before you submit your report
- Peer review of non-research articles
Step 3. Provide detailed comments
- These should be suitable for sending to the author. Use these comments to make constructive suggestions, seek clarification on any unclear points, and ask for further elaboration.
- Make suggestions on how the author can improve clarity, succinctness, and the quality of the presentation.
- Confirm whether you feel the subject of the paper is sufficiently interesting to justify its length. If you recommend shortening, show specific areas where you think it’s required.
- It’s not the reviewer’s job to edit the paper for English, but it is helpful if you correct the English where the technical meaning is unclear.
- A referee may disagree with the author’s opinions but should allow them to stand, provided their evidence supports it.
- Remember that authors will welcome positive feedback as well as constructive criticism.
Being critical whilst remaining sensitive to the author isn’t always easy. Comments should be carefully worded so the author understands what actions they need to take to improve their paper. Avoid generalized or vague statements as well as any negative comments which aren’t relevant or constructive.
Please note that these are just examples of how you might provide feedback on an author’s work. You should, of course, always tailor your review to the paper in question and the specific requirements of the journal and the editor.
- The manuscript is well-written in an engaging and lively style.
- The level is appropriate to our readership.
- The subject is very important. It’s currently something of a “hot topic”, and is one to which the author has made significant contributions.
- This manuscript ticks all the boxes we have in mind for an X paper. I have no hesitation in recommending that it be accepted for publication after a few typos and other minor details have been attended to.
- Given the complexity involved, the author has produced many positive and welcome outcomes. The literature review offers a useful overview of current research and policy, and the resulting bibliography provides a very useful resource for current practitioners.
- This is a well-written article that identifies an important gap.
- In the “Discussion” section I would have wished to see more information on…
- I don’t think that this article contains enough robust data to evidence the statement made on page X, lines Y–Z.
- I would strongly advise the author to rewrite their introduction, analysis, and discussion to produce a more contextualized introduction to…
- There is an interesting finding in this research about…. However, there is insufficient discussion of exactly what this finding means and its implications.
- This discussion could be expanded to explain…
- The author could strengthen the paper by…
- The paper would be significantly improved with the addition of more details about…
- The abstract is very lengthy and goes into detailed accounts that are best suited for the article’s main discussion sections. As such, I suggest the author reduces this section to keep only the most important elements.
- To make this paper publishable, the author needs to respond to the following substantive points.
- This paper would benefit from some closer proofreading. It includes many linguistic errors (e.g. agreement of verbs) that at times make it difficult to follow. It may be useful to engage a professional English language editor following a restructuring of the paper.
- The paper would benefit from stylistic changes to the way it has been written for a stronger, clearer, and more compelling argument.
- There are a few sentences that need rephrasing for clarity.
Step 4. Make a recommendation
Once you’ve read the paper and have assessed its quality, you need to make a recommendation to the editor about publication. The specific decision types used by a journal will vary, but the key decisions are:
- Accept. The paper is suitable for publication in its current form.
- Minor revision. The paper will be ready for publication after light revisions. Please list the revisions you would recommend the author makes.
- Major revision. The paper needs substantial changes such as expanded data analysis, widening of the literature review, or rewriting sections of the text.
- Reject. The paper isn’t suitable for publication in this journal, or the revisions are too fundamental for the submission to continue being considered in its current form.
When authors make revisions to their articles, they’re asked to submit a list of changes and any comments for the reviewers. The revised version is usually returned to the original reviewer if possible. The reviewer is then asked to affirm whether the revisions are satisfactory.
We believe that, to make the best decision on how to deal with an article, we should know about any competing interests that authors may have, and that if we publish the article readers should know about them too.