August 6, 2014 | Leila Jones, Publishing Manager - Journal Development

What is peer review?


Peer review, also known as refereeing, is a collaborative process that allows manuscripts submitted to a journal to be evaluated and commented upon by independent experts within the same field of research. The evaluation and critique generated from peer review provides authors with feedback to improve their work and, critically, allows the editor to assess the paper’s suitability for publication in the journal.

The peer review process may adopt one of the following forms:

  • Under single-blind review the reviewer’s name is not disclosed to the author.
  • Under double-blind review the identity of the reviewers and the authors are not disclosed to either party.
  • Under open review no identities are concealed; author and reviewer names are disclosed.
  • Under post-publication open review, comments, normally mediated by the editor, can be posted by readers and reviewers after the article has been published.

Single- and double-blind review are still the most commonly used methods of peer review.

Peer review at Taylor & Francis

At Taylor & Francis, we believe that peer review is more relevant than ever as the system for evaluating the quality, validity, and relevance of scholarly research. We work to establish and sustain peer review integrity through each journal's peer review procedures, to assure the published article is recognized as the final, definitive, and citable Version of Scholarly Record.

Our commitment is evidenced by this declaration of peer review integrity, common to all our journals:

All published research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening, anonymous refereeing by independent expert referees, and consequent revision by article authors when required. The published article constitutes the final, definitive, and citable Version of Scholarly Record.

Our journals provide details of their specific peer review process and likely timescales on each journal’s website. Review times often differ depending on the journal and subject area. All manuscripts submitted to a Taylor & Francis journal must be original contributions, and must not be under consideration for publication with another journal, nor have been previously published, in part or whole.

Why peer review? What are the benefits?

  • The author receives detailed and constructive feedback from experts in the field.
  • The process can alert authors to errors or gaps in literature they may have overlooked.
  • It can assist with making the paper more applicable to the journal readership.
  • It may enable a discussion (between the author, reviewers, and editor) around a research field or topic.
  • Readers can be assured that the research they are reading has been verified by subject experts.

What value should peer review aim to add?

Peer review should aim to establish that:

  • a submitted article is original work which has not been previously published nor is under consideration by another journal, in part or whole;
  • the article meets all applicable standards of ethics;
  • the paper is relevant to the journal’s aims, scope, and readership;
  • a submitted article presents original research findings;
  • a submitted review article (or similar) offers a comprehensive critical review and evaluation of key literature sources for a given topic; and
  • the article is methodologically and technically sound.

 How does it work? What to expect during the process

howitworks

Diagram of a “typical” peer review process (there are many varieties). Reproduced from Peer Review, the Nuts and Bolts (Sense About Science)

The editor’s role

  • Gatekeeper of the field of research.
  • The editor will consider: Is the manuscript good enough for peer review?

    • Does it conform to Aims & Scope, style guidelines, and Instructions for Authors?
    • Does it make a significant contribution to the existing literature?
  • Unsuitable papers may be rejected without peer review at the editor’s discretion.

If suitable, the paper will be sent out for peer review.

  • The editor will recommend a decision based on the reviews received.
  • The editor’s decision is final.
  • The author may then revise the paper and if suitable it will then be accepted for publication.

Who are the reviewers?

The reviewers are academic or professional researchers working in the field, familiar with the research literature, and authors of papers themselves.

They offer their time and their expertise voluntarily in order to assist with the improvement of papers and to encourage new research in their topic(s) of interest.

 Why does the review process take time?

  • Peer review is a necessarily rigorous process, which demands proper time and attention.
  • Papers will be reviewed by a number of reviewers and members of the editorial team.
  • Delays will inevitably occur when reviewers are busy. As experts in their field, they may have a number of journals sending them papers to be reviewed.
  • Some journals may also receive high levels of submissions throughout the year.
  • The editorial teams of our journals work tirelessly to ensure that peer review is as timely and rigorous as possible. Waiting times can vary depending on the journal and the subject area.

More information

Published: August 6, 2014 | Author: Leila Jones, Publishing Manager - Journal Development | Category: Information and support, Peer review | Tagged with: