How to Become a Peer Reviewer

Peer reviewing (or referring) is the process of taking an author's scholarly or scientific writing and showing it to others who are experts in the same field for their feedback. The reviewers make comments, point out weaknesses, and recommend (or not) that the article is published. The work may be accepted, accepted with revisions, or outright rejected. Peer reviewing is very common for academic journals, and is also used for doctoral dissertations.


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    Gather a group of experts in a specific field, who are qualified and able to perform impartial reviews. They must be able and willing to fact-check the article and use their analytic reasoning skills to determine if the author makes an original contribution to the knowledge in that area.
    • Both the journal editors and author should realize that the review process is a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession related to the subject matter in the article. Peer review methods are used to maintain standards of quality, scientific or academic rigor, and provide credibility. Even if the article is not accepted, the peer review process can help to pass on constructive comments that might help the author to improve it and re-submit it again later.
    • Sometimes a more casual peer reviewing is used by book publishers to catch typographical or style errors along with a basic content editing. These reviewers are often paid, while the more scholarly or scientific reviewers provide their services for free or for a small stipend.
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    Evaluate the importance of the information. Is the article's content important and will the article add much to existing knowledge in that field?
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    Consider the originality. Does the work add any original research to what is already available in the published literature? If so, what unique contribution does it make?
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    Think about audience impact. Does this work matter to the various audiences, such as researchers, policymakers, educators, clients or patients? Will it help the readers to make better decisions? And, if so, how?
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    Examine the research questions. Are they clearly defined and appropriately answered?
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    Investigate the research methods. Are they adequately described? Are they appropriate for this field?
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    Look closely at references. Are they up to date and relevant? Any major omissions?
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    Read the abstracts and summaries. Do they reflect accurately what the paper says? Do they provide enough information so that someone can make an informed decision whether to read the entire article?


  • Criticism- although peer reviewing is important to academic and scientific quality, peer review has been criticized as ineffective and slow. The process often takes months from start to finish, and some of the data in the article may become obsolete before the review process is complete.

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Categories: Better Writing | Editing and Style