The peer review process

Peer review is a positive process. It provides (usually) free advice from experts. All critique and feedback, no matter how harsh, can help you. Peer review can show the best way forward. It can also improve your future research.

Different journals have different peer review systems and editorial rules. But they usually follow similar methods. 

When you send a manuscript to the journal, first the editor and staff will give it a “desk review”. This review will check if:

  • your manuscript meets the journal’s rules
  • the English is clear
  • your manuscript’s content and aims are a good match for the journal

If your manuscript passes desk review, it will be sent to the journal’s regular team of expert reviewers. 

Journals may also ask you for the names of reviewers to suggest or exclude. Some journals require these names. You must also give their correct contact information.

The reviewers will carefully examine your manuscript. They will check its science and logic. Reviewers will recommend changes and send a report to the editor. 

The editor will decide whether to reject your manuscript. She will read the reviewer’s comments and also do her own checking. She may return it to you for revisions. In rare cases, the editor may accept your manuscript with no changes. 

If you are asked to make changes to your manuscript, you must acknowledge all comments. You can either revise or refute each suggested change. If you refute a change you must explain why.

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