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Writing for Publication

Resources and information to help researchers and scholars get published

What is the Peer Review?

Peer Review is the gold standard for scientific communication. Scholarly works are submitted by journal editor to experts in the relevant field, who must evaluate whether the work is of sufficient quality, validity, and sometimes originality in that field to be worth publishing. The expert reviewers will either accept the work as is, reconsider when resubmitted with revisions made with offered feedback, or reject it without a chance for revision. 

Who Are the Reviewers?

Reviewers are subject experts who are invited by journal editors to become reviewers after they have established a history of work in a relevant field and subject area. Typically, they are active in their professional fields and are known to the editors or their peers. They often have a history of publishing in the relevant journal and/or with its publisher. Acting as a peer reviewer is considered a service to the research community and is unpaid. As you become known in your field or area of interest, you may be asked to become a reviewer yourself. Note : Be wary of predatory publishing requests for reviewers - consider such requests as carefully as you would the choice of where to publish, using the same standards.

Types of Peer Review in Order of Commonality

  • Single-blind review : the reviewers are anonymous during review
  • Double-blind review : both reviewers and authors are anonymous during review
  • Open review : author and reviewer names are known to all during review
  • Post-publication open review : commentary can be posted by readers and reviewers after the article has been published

The Peer Review Process

How it Works : Peer Review Process, from Taylor & Francis

Diagram of a “typical” peer review process (there are many varieties). Reproduced from Peer Review, the Nuts and Bolts (Sense About Science)

What are Reviewers Looking For?

Reviewers are typically trying to judge an article by:

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