Single-blind: the reviewers know the names of the authors, but the authors do not know who reviewed their manuscript unless the reviewer chooses to sign their report. Double-blind: the reviewers do not know the names of the authors, and the authors do not know who reviewed their manuscript. Open peer: authors know who the reviewers are, and the reviewers know who the authors are.
If the manuscript is accepted, the named reviewer reports are published alongside the article.
Different journals use different types of peer review. Peer review is an integral part of scientific publishing that confirms the validity of the manuscript. Peer reviewers are experts who volunteer their time to help improve the manuscripts they review. By undergoing peer review, manuscripts should become:. More robust - peer reviewers may point out gaps in a paper that require more explanation or additional experiments. Easier to read - if parts of your paper are difficult to understand, reviewers can suggest changes.
More useful - peer reviewers also consider the importance of your paper to others in your field. For more information and advice on how to get published, please see our blog series here. However, not every paper published in this way is guaranteed to receive any reviews from readers. There are also some concerns about the risks of allowing a paper to be published without any prior review, especially in areas such as medicine.
Otherwise it will move to the next stage, and into peer review. The editor will then find and contact other researchers who are experts in your field, asking them to review the paper. Usually a minimum of two reviewers is required for every article, but this can vary from journal to journal. The reviewers will be asked to read and comment on your article. They may also be invited to advise the editor whether your article is suitable for publication in that journal. Once the editor has received and considered the reviewer reports, as well as making their own assessment of your work, they will let you know their decision.
The reviewer reports will be shared with you along with any additional guidance from the editor.
If you get a straight acceptance, congratulations, your article is ready to move to publication. Very often, you will need to revise your article and resubmit. Or it may be that the editor decides your paper needs to be rejected by that journal. For further details, please see our peer review appeals and complaints policy. It is very common for the editor and reviewers to have suggestions about how you can improve your paper before it is ready to be published. Once you resubmit your manuscript the editor will look through the revisions. However, if your revisions have now brought the paper up to the standard required by that journal, it then moves to the next stage ….
This is a lost opportunity. Revisions and feedback are a natural and important part of the publishing process. The next stop is production.
Editorial teams work very hard to progress papers through peer review as quickly as possible. The first stage is for the editor to find suitably qualified expert reviewers who are available. Given the competing demands of research life, nobody can agree to every review request they receive. Then those reviewers have to find time alongside their own research, teaching, and writing, to give your paper thorough consideration. Otherwise, if you need an update on the status of your paper, please get in touch with the editor.
Many journals publish details of the key dates alongside new articles, including when the paper was submitted, accepted, and published online. While each article will have a different timeline, this may help to give you a feel for how long publication may take.
Peer review is a process that involves various players — the author, the reviewer and the editor to name a few. And depending on which of these hats you have on, the process can look quite different. If the editor asks you to revise your article you will then be given time to make the required changes before resubmitting. Taking their points on board will ensure your final article is as robust and impactful as possible.
The editor can then make an assessment and include your explanation when the amended article is sent back to the reviewers. You are entitled to defend your position but, when you do, make sure that the tone of your explanation is assertive and persuasive, rather than defensive or aggressive.
Nobody enjoys having their paper rejected by a journal, but it is a fact of academic life. It happens to almost all researchers at some point in their career.
Instead, try to use it as a valuable learning opportunity. If a journal rejects your manuscript, it may be for one of many reasons. Make sure that you understand why your paper has been rejected so that you can learn from the experience.
This is especially important if you are intending to submit the same article to a different journal. Are there fundamental changes that need to be made before the paper is ready to be published or was this simply a case of submitting to the wrong journal? When you made your original submission, you will probably have had a shortlist of journals you were considering. Your article may also be quite different if it has been through any rounds of revision.
A growing number of publishers offer a transfer or cascade service to authors when their paper is rejected. If your article falls into this category then one or more alternative journals from the same publisher will be suggested. You will have the option either to submit to one of those suggested journals for review or to withdraw your article. If you choose to transfer your article this will usually save you time. Any reviewer reports will also often be transferred with your article. How does being a reviewer help you in your career?
Here are some top ways that you can benefit. Keep up with the latest thinking: As a reviewer you get an early view of the exciting new research being done in your field. Not only that, peer review gives you a role in helping to evaluate and improve this new work.
Improve your own writing: Carefully reviewing articles written by other researchers can give you an insight into how you can make your own better. Unlike when you are reading articles as part of your research, the process of reviewing encourages you to think critically about what makes an article good or not so good. This could be related to writing style, presentation, or the clarity of explanations. Boost your career: While a lot of reviewing is anonymous, there are schemes to recognize the important contribution of reviewers.
Your work as a reviewer will be of interest to appointment or promotion committees who are looking for evidence of service to the profession. Becoming a reviewer is a great way to get involved with that group. This can give you the opportunity to build new connections for future collaborations. Of course, being a reviewer is not just about the benefits it can bring you.
Playing a part as a member of the academic community: Peer review is the bedrock of academic publishing. The work of reviewers is essential in helping every piece of research to become as good as it can be. By being a reviewer, you will play a vital part in advancing the research area that you care about. Reciprocating the benefit: Researchers regularly talk about the benefits to their own work from being reviewed by others. However, many reviewers attest that it is work that makes them feel good, knowing that they have been able to support a fellow researcher. Our popular guide to becoming a peer reviewer covers everything you need to know to get started, including:.
For further useful advice check out the following resources.
A guide to peer review written by early career researchers for early career researchers and published by Sense about Science. The problem with peer review: how can we promote diversity and inclusivity in a closed off process? Catherine Walker from Sense about Science discusses. Home Understanding peer review. Understanding peer review A guide for authors.