How to write Peer-review?

What is peer-review and what is its purpose?

Peer-review is the process of subjecting an author’s scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field. Generally, Peer-review serves two primary purposes:

  1. It ensures the publication of high-quality research.
  2. Peer-review improves the quality of manuscripts that are suitable for publication.

How to Write a Peer-Review?

1) Make sure you have the right expertise on the topic which you are reviewing.
2) Visit the reviewer-specific instructions including the references which are standardized set by the Journals.
3) Skim the paper very quickly to get a general sense of the article. Underline keywords and arguments, and summarize all the key points. This will help you quickly “tune in” to the paper during the next read.
4) Sit in a quiet place and read the manuscript critically. Make sure you have the tables, figures, and references visible. Ask yourself key questions, including:
  • Does it have a relevant title and valuable research question?
  • What’s the author’s motivation for the study and the idea behind it?
  • Are the data and tools suitable and correct?
  • What’s new about it?
  • Why does that matter?
  • Are there other considerations?
5) Take notes about the major, moderate, and minor revisions that need to be made. You need to make sure you can put the paper down and come back to it with fresh eyes later on.
6) Are there any methodological concerns or common research errors?
7) Create a list of things to check: For example, Does the reference study show what is claimed in the paper?
8) Assess language and grammar, and make sure it’s a right ‘fit’ for the journal. Does the paper flow have connectivity and clarity? Are the words and structure concise and effective?
9) Check previous publications of the authors and other authors in the field to be sure that the results were not published before.
10) Summarize your notes for the editor. This can include an overview, contribution, strengths & weaknesses, and acceptability. You can also include the manuscript’s contribution/context for the authors
11) Give specific recommendations to the authors for changes and What do you want them to work on?
12) Give your recommendation to the editor.

Who conducts reviews?

Peer-reviews are generally conducted by experts with specialized as well as general knowledge on the topic of the Journal.

How long does it take to review one paper?

On average, it takes approximately six hours to review one paper; however, this number may vary greatly depending on the content of the paper and the nature of the peer reviewer.

How to determine whether a journal is peer-reviewed or not?

 There are online sources available to check this. The most reliant source available is “Ulrichsweb” which is a directory of over 300,000 periodicals and has information regarding the journals which are peer-reviewed.

Advantages of the different types of peer-review:

  • Open review:

As both the author of the paper and the peer reviewer know one another’s identity. Thus, it encourages reviewers to be open and honest without being disrespectful.

  • Single-blind review:

In this, the reviewer’s identity is kept private. Thus, we get honest feedback when their identity is concealed. This allows the reviewer to make independent decisions without the influence of the author.

  • Double-blind review:

In this, the identities of both the reviewer and author are kept anonymous. Thus, the paper is judged based on the quality of the content, rather than the reputation of the author.

Dis-Advantages of the different types of peer-review:

  • Open review:

It can prevent reviewers from being honest for fear of harming their relationship with the author.

  • Single-blind review:

The main disadvantage of reviewer anonymity, however, is that reviewers who receive manuscripts on subjects similar to their own research may be tempted to delay completing the review in order to publish their own data first.

  • Double-blind review:

The disadvantage of double-blind peer review is that, especially in niche areas of research, it can sometimes be easy for the reviewer to determine the identity of the author based on writing style, subject matter, or self-citation, and thus, impart bias.

Criticism of peer-review

  1. Peer-review provides little evidence on how the process actually works.
  2. The peer-review process is not conducted thoroughly by scientific conferences but is conducted with the goal of obtaining large numbers of submitted papers.

Concluding remarks

Peer-review has, thus, become fundamental in assisting editors and selecting credible, high-quality, novel, and interesting research papers to publish the scientific journals. It also ensures the correction of any errors or issues present in the submitted papers. Though the peer-review process still has some flaws and deficiencies, a more suitable screening method for scientific papers has not yet been proposed or developed. It ensures a full-proof system such that only quality research papers are released into the scientific community.

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