Before Accepting Articles for review:
The decision panel, after receiving an article, does first screening and review to check if manuscript matches with minimal criteria. If it does, the manuscript is then sent to reviewers with matching area of interest.
You as being reviewer should always consider few things before accepting article:
- Does this article match with your area of interest/expertise? You need to only accept if you can fairly judge the subject
- If there’s any conflict of interest you have regarding manuscript, editor should be first entity to be notified at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The review itself is a hard work as writing manuscript. You should be able to give dedication in such great work.
- Make sure you have fair time to give review. Make sure you have time to provide review in amount of time provided, if you need more time, let the editor know about it.
Before You Start the Review:
As you have accepted the article, you shall be collecting some data regarding authors research work. Being a reviewer, its necessary for you to know about present condition of work done in area of subject.
A manuscript, is a confidential document and shall be treated same way. In case, if something is there you want to add in your research work, it should only be done with the consent of author and journal editor.
Reviewing the Artcile:
- Initial Reading:
Read the article in once like a normal reader. Make sure the article fits into its types (eg: case study, research article, review article, literature survey) and the research area.
Now allow yourself a time to think, about the article subject and the way author has presented it. Think of the way you may have written the article if you were writing the manuscript.
Take a view at abstract and take an idea of major findings by author in subject. This would also give a brief summary about article.
Write down the terminology you need to know and lookup for them in books, internet. Note down if author has given some misconceptions about them.
- Re-Review The article:
Pay close attention to the “Materials and Methods” (please note that in some journals this section is at the very end of the paper) and “Results” sections.
Ask yourself questions about the study, such as:
- Have the study been carried out already?
- Is the method mentioned correct?
- Was the testing done on proper sample size? Does this satisfy larger amount?
- What factors might affect the outcome?
- Is the work submitted by author genuine?
Check the validity of references taken by author. An article with proper referencing is good consideration.
- Literature review and Previous studies
The literature review section shows authors acknowledgement to the previous work that is done in area. Being a reviewer you need to see if they are mentioned with appropriate references
Read the materials taken into study for the possibilities of achieving desired results.
Article may involve graphs, pictures, tables, figures etc. and those factors should be considered for their validity. Carefully check them and note down the concerns.
Make sure you have understood the article.
- Conclusion and Acknowledgements:
With analysis make yourself a final conclusion and see how far author has reached on same.
A conclusion should take whole study into consideration and reach to final decision which depicts the result and understanding of whole study.
- Draft The Summary:
After finishing the review, write a summarized review for authors. This would be review from you.
- Try to explain authors’ work in brief. Write the area of improvements if any
- Try to describe the article in your own words first.
- Try to distill the article down to its “scientific essence.”
- Include all the key points and be accurate.
- A reader who has not read the original article should be able to understand your summary.
- Example of a well-written summary
- Write a draft of your summary:
- Don’t look at the article while writing, to make it easier to put the information in your own words and avoid unintentional plagiarism.
- Refer back to the article later for details and facts.
- Ask yourself questions as you write:
- What is the purpose of the study? What questions were asked?
- How did the study address these questions?
- What assumptions did the author make?
- What were the major findings?
- What surprised you or struck you as interesting?
- What questions are still unanswered?
- A complete citation of the article goes at the top of the page, below your heading.
- Don’t skip a line between the citation and the start of the essay.
- Indent the first line of the essay.
- Be concise and eliminate superfluous information.
- Critique: A Critical Review and Assessment of the Article
- Include a summary as well as your own analysis and evaluation of the article.
- Know the article thoroughly.
- Do not include personal opinions.
- Be sure to distinguish your thoughts from the author’s words.
- Focus on the positive aspects and what the author(s) of the study learned.
- Note limitations of the study at the end of the essay:
- Do the data and conclusions contradict each other?
- Is there sufficient data to support the author’s generalizations?
- What questions remain unanswered?
- How could future studies be improved?
- Good Reviews and Bad Reviews
A good review is supportive, constructive, thoughtful, and fair. It identifies both strengths and weaknesses, and offers concrete suggestions for improvements. It acknowledges the reviewer's biases where appropriate, and justifies the reviewer's conclusions.
A bad review is superficial, nasty, petty, self-serving, or arrogant. It indulges the reviewer's biases with no justification. It focuses exclusively on weaknesses and offers no specific suggestions for improvement.