Reviewers are essential to the scholarly publishing process. Academics rely on peer review to corroborate their research and add value to it through critical engagement, before publication. Always endeavouring to publish quality research, journal editor depends on effective peer review processes to uphold the integrity of the journals and individual articles we publish. As specialists in a given area of research, reviewers are well placed to assess the soundness of another author's work and share their own knowledge, furthering the research. This act of review also has huge benefits for the reviewer themselves:
- As a reviewer you are supporting the body of knowledge and therefore increasing your reputation as a participatory academic.
- You are also establishing yourself as an expert in a given field of research by acting on a board of reviewers.
- You're able to interact with the cutting-edge research in your area, before it has even been published.
- Exercise your critical thinking skills in a private arena.
- Return the favour – others review your papers; get involved to repay the courtesy.
- Building a relationship with reputable journals and their editorial teams can increase your opportunity of being invited to join an Editorial Board.
As a reviewer, you will be notified by e-mail of an invitation to review a journal article. The e-mail will come embedded with hyperlink invitation responses.
Clicking the appropriate hyperlink sends the response to the journal's editorial office. The Editor is notified and – if you accepted – the manuscript is forwarded to you. You will also receive an invitation e-mail containing any specific instructions you may need in order to proceed.
Your login information will be the same for your reviewer account as it is for your author account. Once you are logged in you can access your article.
If you have reason to believe that an article is a substantial copy of another work please let the Editor know, citing the previous work in as much detail as possible.
If inaccurate, unsubstantiated or emotive statements are made about organizations or people in a submitted article, please let the Editor know. If it is considered that the article could be potentially libellous, clarification will be sought from the author.
Although it can be very difficult to detect if you suspect the results in an article to be falsified please raise the matter with the Editor.
Double-blind peer review
A large majority of e-Journal Manager journals operate according to the double-blind peer review model for more information) and so the respective identities of author and reviewer remain hidden. To help preserve the integrity of this process please do not reveal your name within the text of your review.
Structure and content
Does the article say something new and interesting enough to warrant publication? Does it add to the body of knowledge? Is the research question an important one? In order to determine its originality and appropriateness for the journal, it might be helpful to consider the article in the context of the wider published research, using tools such as Web of Science or Scopus. How does it compare to the most highly cited or downloaded papers in the field? If the research has been covered previously, forward any relevant references to the Editor.
Layout and format
Authors must comply fully with the journal’s author guidelines, which include manuscript presentation. If the author has clearly failed to present the article according to these guidelines and the Editor has not already highlighted this in the invitation to review, you should either flag this to the Editor or note this in your review. If the paper is particularly original or interesting the Editor may choose to overlook the formatting issues throughout the peer review process and ask the author to address these only shortly prior to eventual acceptance; but at other times the Editor may ask the author to restructure the paper before progressing it any further.
Does it clearly describe the article? Does it include the most important keywords and demonstrate the significance of the research? Does it make sense?!
Have all mandatory fields been completed? Does it accurately reflect the content of the article?
Does this describe what the author hoped to achieve and clearly articulate the research question? Has the author provided a summary of the current research literature to provide context? Is it clear how this is being challenged or built upon? Are there any important works that have been omitted?
Does the author accurately explain how the data was collected? Is the design suitable for answering the question posed? Does the article outline the procedures followed? If the methods are new, are they explained in detail? Is there sufficient information present for you to replicate the research? Was the sampling appropriate? Have the equipment and materials been adequately described? Does the article make it clear what type of data was recorded; has the author been precise in describing measurements?
These are common and so close attention should be paid.
This is where the author should explain clearly what was discovered in the research. Are results presented clearly? You should consider the merits and appropriateness of the author’s analysis.
Are the claims in this section reasonable and supported by the results? Are the findings consistent with the author’s expectations? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper? Does the article support or contradict previous theories? Does the author explain how the research has added to the body of knowledge?
Graphics and tables
Where these are included, please check the content and if possible make suggestions for improvements. Do the figures and tables inform the reader? Are they an important part of the story? Do the figures describe the data accurately? Are they presented consistently (e.g. in the same format throughout)?
Does the quality of English make it difficult to understand the author’s argument? If this is the case, you do not need to correct the English but should instead mention this as part of your review. In extreme cases where an interesting or original contribution is undermined by poor quality of expression you may bring this to the attention of the Editor who can then advise of sub-editing services.
Scoring and submitting your review
Click the Scorecard tab to review and score the manuscript. The format can vary by journal and may include journal-specific questions, a recommendation field, comments to the author and comments to the Editor.
Below is an example of the types of questions you might find on your Reviewer Scorecard:
- Originality: Does the paper contain new and significant information adequate to justify publication?
- Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored?
- Methodology: Is the paper’s argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts or other ideas? Has the research or equivalent intellectual work on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate?
- Results: Are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?
- Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?
- Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the field and the expected knowledge of the journal’s readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.
- Minor Revisions
- Major Revisions
What’s the difference between "minor" and "major" revisions?
This varies from journal to journal. However, minor revisions may more often require the author to make relatively small adjustments to the paper, the type of which that would not take too much more time. These may be to bring the paper more in line with author guidelines with a slightly reduced word count, formatting changes or the labelling of tables or figures; further evidence of an understanding of the extant research literature; or to elaborate a little more on the research findings.
Major revisions might require the author to make more significant improvements, the type of which that may take weeks or even months rather than days. Authors may be asked to address flaws in the methodology; collect more data; conduct a more thorough analysis; or even adjust the research question to ensure the paper contributes something truly original to the body of work.
The exact motivations behind an Editor's decision are always unique. Importantly, constructive feedback should be provided by the reviewers so that authors are clear on how to improve their papers.