The Reviewers Role - From Outsider to Insider in Scholarly Publishing - Writing as Professional Development

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

The Reviewers Role
From Outsider to Insider in Scholarly Publishing
Writing as Professional Development

The integrity of the review process and the overall quality of a scholarly publication relies to a considerable extent on the expertise, ethics, and insights of professional peers in the field. As reviewers read a manuscript, they are expected to evaluate aspects of written work that are summarized in Table 12.2.

Table 12.2

The reviewer’s role

So what? Consider the overall potential contribution of the work—Does the manuscript advance thinking in the field? Is there an element of originality? What is the quality of thinking behind the manuscript?

For whom? Would the subject matter of the manuscript hold appeal for the readership of the publication? Is it written in a way that is accessible to that audience?

Not so. Identify errors of fact or assertions that can be challenged—what is the author’s evidence? Are there contradictions, misconceptions, or flaws in the reasoning? If so, point them out to spare the author(s) embarrassment

Say what? Point out areas in the manuscript that are confusing—Ask the author to say it more clearly and, if you have an idea about how to accomplish this, say so

What else? Suggest additional, relevant sources of information—Are there any key sources that the author may have overlooked and that you might recommend?

More or less? Are there concepts that require further elaboration, a concrete example, or more support from the research? Conversely, are there places where the manuscript bogs down and needs to be cut or condensed?

Well said. Does the writing flow? Is it understandable, readable, engaging, well organized and carefully crafted? Does it exemplify high-quality scholarly discourse?

Check again. Although the work will be copyedited by professionals, note if there are mechanical errors and referencing style mistakes. Generally speaking, what category of errors has been committed (e.g., errors in the reference list, formatting of tables, use of headings)?

Online Tool

Check to see if your institution has a site license with the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) If so, complete the Peer Review module on ethics in reviewing other scholars’ work.