Reviewing Guidance



Content of Review

Beyond providing the editors with the information needed to reach a fair decision, the main purpose of the review is to provide authors with information on reasons for the decision and with knowledge on how they can strengthen their paper and research.

In addition to your in-file comments, please provide your evaluations of the following:

  1. Does the paper contribute knowledge (e.g. research or idea) that is lacking in the specific field?
  2. Does the manuscript provide evidence for its conclusions? If not, how can this be improved?
  3. Is the research question/questions clearly stated?
  4. Is the question addressed novel, or does it take a new angle – useful to the professionals in the field, including inspiring thinking?
  5. Are the arguments evidence-based?
  6. Are there any major flaws, such as misrepresenting the law and its application; misrepresentation of scientific findings, etc.?
  7. If there is empirical data, are the findings presented clearly and in a non-misleading way?
  8. Is the paper well-structured, with logic, clear flow, and argumentation? If not, please provide your suggested structure.
  9. Is the use of headings kept to a minimum to enable accessibility of the paper?
  10. Are appropriate citations used and is the evidence reliable?
  11. Is the language clear and correct?


Recommended Procedure for reviewing


Reviewers should aim to, where possible, prevent their own views in the area affecting the evaluation of the paper.

The first reading should aim to get an understanding of the research question addressed, the method used, flow, structure, results, and recommendations. Following the first reading, the reviewer will get an idea of whether the papers satisfy the quality to be accepted.

It is important to read the whole paper. It often can be tempting to decide to reject halfway through the paper, including due to lack of flow. It is important to resist this temptation, and to read through the whole paper, even if the reviewer intends to reject it, because: the authors might have addressed important questions further down in the paper, and the reviewer will be able to help authors improve the research for future publications.

Following the first reading, a summary of the review should be written, addressing the points listed in the Content of Review section. Reviewers should point to any important work missed by authors. 

We ask reviewers to consider all aspects of the paper:

    • Title
    • Abstract
    • Structure
    • Language
    • Any points missed or not addressed
    • Unnecessary content
    • Conclusion

For Language: Quality of research and clarity is a priority, so if language is not correct, please include in the review, providing examples, but not correcting the article if there are many language shortcomings. We encourage reviewers to focus their input on ensuring quality and accessible research is published – rather than on editing.


Recommended Concise Guides

We also recommend a paper in Nature by Mathew Stiller-Reeve, How to write a thorough peer review, which can be accessed here:

As well as: ’A Peer Review Process Guide’, which can be accessed here:


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