A Guide to Reviewing
Purpose of peer review
Peer review is a very important part of scholarly publication, it is the cornerstone of the whole system. It has two key functions:
• Acts as a filter, to ensure only good research is published.
• Improves the quality of the research submitted for publication.
On being asked to review
The first item to consider when asked to review, is does the article you are being asked to review truly match your expertise? Only accept an invitation if you are competent to review the article.
If you believe that the article is relevant, next consider, do you have time to review it? If you can not conduct the review let us know immediately, and if possible advise the editor of alternative reviewers.
Please contact us immediately if there are any potential conflicts of interest in the following instances:
If you are in direct competition with the authors．
If you work in the same department or institute as one of the authors．
If you work on a paper previously with an author or have a professional or financial connection to the article．
Conducting the review
Normally you would be expected to evaluate the article according to the following:
Is the article sufficiently novel and interesting to warrant publication?
Is the article clearly laid out? Are all the key elements present: abstract, introduction, experimental methods, results and discussion, conclusion?
Consider each element in turn:
• Title: does it clearly describe the article?
• Abstract: does it reflect the content of the article?
• Introduction: does it describe what the author hoped to achieve accurately, and clearly state the problem being investigated?
• Is the experimental methods appropriate? Does it accurately explain how the data was collected?
• Results and Discussion: The results should be clearly laid out and in a logical sequence. You will need to consider if the appropriate analysis been conducted.
• Conclusion: Are the claims in this section supported by the results? Do they seem reasonable?
• Figures and tables: Do the figures describe the data accurately? Are they consistent, e.g. bars in charts are the same width, the scales on the axis are logical
If the article is poorly written with a number of misspelt words and grammatical errors.
4. Previous Research
If the article builds upon previous research does it reference that work appropriately? Are the references accurate?
5. Ethical Issues
• Plagiarism: if you suspect that an article is a substantial copy of previous work/s, let the editor know. Please cite the previous work/s.
• Fraud: it is very difficult to detect the determined fraudster, but if you suspect that the results in an article to be untrue let us know explaining why you believe the results to be fraudulent.
Editors’ Advice To Reviewers
1. Be critical. It is easier for an editor to overturn very critical comments than to overturn favorable comments.
2. Justify all criticisms by specific references to the text of the paper or to published literature. Vague criticisms are unhelpful.
3. Don’t repeat information from the paper, such as the title and authors names, since this already appears elsewhere in the review form.
4. Check the Aims and Scope of the journal to ensure that your comments are in accordance with journal policy.
5. Give a clear recommendation. Don't put 'I will leave the decision to the editor' unless you are genuinely unsure of your recommendation.
6. Number your comments so that the authors can easily refer to them.
7. Be specific - refer to line numbers in the paper or to exact regions where you wish changes to occur.