The purpose of peer review

Peer review is a critical element of scholarly publication, and one of the major cornerstones of the scientific process. It ensures that published research is sound and properly verified and improves the quality of the research.

Reviewers for Journals are selected by the handling editors on the basis of their knowledge of the field. Reviewer names are anonymized so authors will not be informed of the identity of the reviewers. You must therefore take care not to identify yourself or your institution in your comments. Note also that the material you will be reviewing is confidential and must not be used for your own work.

Before agreeing to review

  • We usually ask our reviewers to submit their comments within four weeks of agreeing to review a paper, although extensions can be granted. If you do not have time to review the article, please let the editor/ editorial office know. Suggestions for alternative reviewers are always welcome.
  • Conflict of interest: As a reviewer, your task is to critically and constructively judge the content of a manuscript. A conflict of interest could be:
  • your PhD student or PhD advisor;
  • family relations;
  • people at your current institution;
  • people whose research you fund or who fund you;
  • Collaborators in the past two years.

Reviewing a paper

As a reviewer, it is important that you remain objective in your critical appraisal. You should not allow your personal prejudice about research topics or researchers to influence your judgment. Your comments should be professional and courteous, and should help the author to improve their paper and present their research as clearly and concisely as possible.

If you have reasons to believe that the material is not original or has been plagiarised, please alert the handling editor or the editorial office.

When reviewing a paper, you should take into consideration the following:

  • Originality and quality: Is the paper of sufficient interest for publication in the journal? Does it contribute significantly to the current state of the research field? Is the topic handled substantively and accurately in appropriate detail and scope?
  • Structure: abstract, introduction, method, results, conclusion.
  • Engagement with previous research and results (e.g. does the author engage with current/ relevant research in the field).
  • Language: You do not need to correct the English, however, if a paper is difficult to understand due to grammatical errors, please mention this in your report.