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 these 12 questions in one or two full sentences, and e-mail completed review to authors, and turn in a paper 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. Does the paper have a clear standpoint and purpose? What are the main standpoint, claims and arguments of the paper and how important are they?
  2. How are these arguments and standpoint creative and original? If the authors' arguments are not original, what sources are the authors copying?  Do they give proper credit to the original sources of their data, quotes, claims, arguments or standpoint? 
  3. Are their claims properly placed in the context of the previous literature, by research, quoting and citing? In their argument, do they quote from or cite all of their required sources? How well is this done?
  4. Are the authors' sources all primary, scholarly or professional?  Do the authors use any biased, unreliable or out of date sources to try to make their claims? 
  5. Do the results solidly support the authors' claims? Were you, yourself convinced of the authors' standpoint?  If not, what additional evidence would be required to persuade you?
  6. 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.)
  7. Does this paper pass anyone's "Who cares?" test?  Who would find this paper of special interest? Why?
  8. 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 would make it outstanding? 
  9. If the paper does not work in its present form, does the report itself show sufficient enough 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?
  10. Is the manuscript clearly enough written so that it is understandable to non-specialists? If not, how could it be improved? (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.)
  11. Have the authors cited the previous literature appropriately? Is their use of assigned format correct?
  12. 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 quoted from that source

Original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

O.W. 8/08 rev 3/11

For educational purposes only.

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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