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Monday, April 18, 2011

How I Do A Peer Review

1. Usually, articles are sent to me as word documents, so I open up the document and begin to "track changes." I Correct some obvious typos and put comments directly into the document. The author of the article will never see these comments or corrections, but I find it helpful for myself. I also take "mental notes," sub-verbalizing what I think. What I'm doing is writing a draft the reader's report in my head. At this point I basically know whether it's an acceptance, a review and resubmit, or a rejection.

2. I get a good night's sleep.

3. The next day I draft a reader's report. I use my marginal comments and my mental notes as the basis of that. I outline the strengths of the paper, the exact points that need to be improved. I might make specific comments on style, organization, and argumentation. When I have the reader's report done, I make sure that it corresponds with my judgment of whether it's a resubmit, rejection, or acceptance. For example, I might have thought it's a resubmit, but reading my own report it's obvious that there are too many serious problems. Or, when I outline the strengths of the article, a reject might be promoted to a resubmit. I never change from acceptance to rejection or rejection to acceptance, though.

4. I get another good night's sleep.

5. I look at my reader's report the next day. Is this still what I think? Do I need to rewrite it to soften the criticism?

In some cases I can do 5 on the same day as 3. In other cases I do the entire report in one day, when the flaws of the article are so obvious that I can tell the editor what they are in much less time.

The most frequent kind of article I read are resubmits, followed closely by rejections and outright acceptances with only minor changes This means that I am usually help an author get hir articles into print.

1 comment:

Clarissa said...

It would be so wonderful if more reviewers were as conscientious as you are.