Guidelines for Peer Reviewers

The purpose of the review is to provide authors with explicit feedback on how to improve their papers so that they will be of "A" quality. You do the authors no favor by just writing that "everything is great!"  Instead, please be a bit ruthless!  Although confidential comments to the instructor are respected, any remarks that might help to strengthen the paper should be directed to the authors themselves.

Instructions: Answer each of the following dozen questions in one or two full sentences, and e-mail completed review to the author, with a copy to me.

Attention authors:  If you disagree with the reviewers' comments, you are not absolutely required to follow them, but this process is useless if you do not try to revise your paper based on the reviewers' comments. O. W.

  1. Do the authors have a clear standpoint and purpose? What are the main standpoints, claims and arguments of the paper and how important are they?

  2. How are these arguments and standpoints creative and original? If the authors' arguments are not new or original, what sources are the authors copying? 

  3. Are the authors' claims properly placed in the context of previous literature? Do authors quote from or cite all of their listed sources?  Do they give proper credit for all data and quotes that are not common knowledge? 

  4. Are the authors' research sources all primary, scholarly or professional?  Do the authors use any biased, unreliable or popular sources to try to make their claims? 


  5. Do the authors honestly acknowledge and properly respond to significant existing evidence, arguments and viewpoints that disagree with their own standpoint or conclusions? If not, what are the strongest opposing arguments or evidence that they need to address?     

  6. Do the results and conclusions solidly support the authors' claims? Were you, yourself convinced of the authors' standpoint?  If not, what additional arguments or evidence would be required to fully persuade you?

  7. What other research or additional information would improve the paper? How much better would the paper be if this extra work was done, and how difficult would such work be to do, or to provide? (Do not write, "It is perfect as written."  Anything can be improved.)

  8. Who is the intended audience of this manuscript? Would this paper pass that audience's "Who cares?" test?  Would they find this paper of special interest? Why?

  9. Is this paper outstanding in its discipline? (For example, would you like to see this work presented in a seminar at your university? Do you feel these results need to be incorporated in your next general lecture on the subject?) If yes, what makes it outstanding? If not, why not, and what could make it outstanding? 

  10. If the paper does not work in its present form, does the study itself show sufficient potential that the authors should be encouraged to resubmit a revised version? Or do they need to toss the whole thing out and start over from scratch?  Why?

  11. Is the manuscript clearly enough written so that it is understandable to non-specialists in the subject? If not, how could it be improved?


  12. Is the technical quality of the manuscript adequate for its intended or assigned purpose and audience? (A peer reviewer is not a proofreader! Please concentrate mainly on matters of organization and content and not on grammatical or spelling errors that will be corrected later by the authors themselves, or by a proofreader.)

  13.  Have the authors cited the previous literature appropriately? Is their use of assigned APA format [or other format] correct?

  14. Does the paper offer enough details to allow you to easily recheck and verify all facts and sources that are not common knowledge if you needed to do so?

Note: The review process is strictly confidential and should be treated as such by reviewers.

Modeled  on  Public Library  of  Science  "Reviewer  Guidelines ", .  Some    text  is  quoted from that source, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

 N.B.: This information applies only to UTEP classes taught by Owen Williamson. Peer review may take on other, quite different forms in other classes and in other situations!

O.W. 8/08 rev 11/09

Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655
The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
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