Peer review: who, why, and how

Whether you are a veteran researcher or just beginning your academic career, you are probably familiar with the concept of peer review. In an ideal world, peer reviewers would politely request changes and suggest changes that would significantly improve your publications. In reality, peer review can be rude and unproductive. Here are some suggestions to improve both sides of the peer review conversation.

What are realistic expectations of peer review? Irene Hames has some answers in Science Editing, including:

  • Provide authors with quality and constructive feedback
  • Generally improve the quality and readability of articles
  • Help maintain the integrity of the scholarly record


On the receiving end of peer review?

How to respond to peer reviewer comments. 10 Tips for Success.

Want to know why your manuscript was rejected? Daniel Byrne discusses some common reasons for rejecting manuscripts at medical journals.

Are you the peer reviewer?

Basic principles [pdf] to which peer reviewers should adhere, from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

A journal editor at The Chemical Record weighs in on his expectations of peer reviewers. For instance:

Every peer reviewer should explain or support his/her judgments. …I like to ask potential reviewers how they would view the same comment if they had received it for one of their own papers, especially if the reviewer suggests rejection.

Peer reviewer roles and responsibilities from the Council of Science Editors “White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Publications.”

A guide for scientists just beginning to perform peer review at Violent Metaphors.

Can’t do it?

How to say no to a request to perform peer review.

Have you found any other helpful resources for scholarly peer review? Please let me know, I’d love to hear about them.