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Academic Publishing 101

This guide will guide you through the process of publishing an article in an academic journal.

Why Does Peer Review Matter?

Peer review is more than a matter of tradition or formality. Peer review is an integral part of the research process, and helps insure the integrity of academic research. Peer review

  • Helps prevent poor academic work from being shared
  • Promotes the process of science being evaluated and scrutinized
  • Promotes a culture of collaboration in science
  • Maintains standards of scientific rigor

That being said, peer review is not without its controversies. Some common criticism of peer review include:

  • That it is done as a formality and reviewers are not properly scrutinizing scientific work
  • It can allow bias and secrecy in publishing
  • It relies on unpaid labor by academics
  • It delays the time between when research is completed and when it can be shared, slowing down the transformation of medical research into more effective clinical practice

Some emerging practices, such as experiments in open peer review and the growing trend of sharing article preprints, have arisen in part in response to these criticisms.

Types of Peer Review

Single-Blind Review

  • Reviewers know who is the author of the article they are reviewing
  • The author does not know who the reviewers are
  • Potential for bias

Double-Blind Review

  • Reviewers do not know who is the author of the article they are reviewing
  • The author does not know who is reviewing their paper
  • Preferred for reducing bias

Open Peer Review

  • Reviewers and authors know who each other are
  • Advocated by some who promote its potential to increase collaboration and transparency in research
  • Potential for bias
  • Developing concept with many different models

Post-Publication Open Review

  • After publication, other researchers and/or the public can post comments and feedback in an open forum
  • Similar to comment sections and message boards used more widely on the internet
  • Developing, experimental model

What are Reviewers Looking For?

Reviewers are typically trying to judge an article by:

  • Originality of Work
    • Article is original work of authors
    • Article has not been submitted or published entirely or in part elsewhere
  • Originality of Research
    • Research described in article presents original findings
  • Ethical Standards
    • Research study described follows all relevant ethical standards 
  • Relevancy
    • Article must be relevant to the specific journal’s aims, scope, and readership
  • Comprehensive Background
    • Article includes appropriate critical review and evaluation of key literature sources
  • Soundness
    • Article and described study is methodologically and technically sound