What Is "Peer Review"?
It means an evaluation and a review by other researchers and experts in the same field. The journal
completes this process before the paper submitted by the researcher has been published.
In academic journals, not all submitted manuscripts are published. It is usual that an expert in the same field is assigned as a reviewer to evaluate the manuscript and to confirm the value of the manuscript before publication. This is called a peer review . The results of the peer review will determine whether the paper should be published.
The Peer Review Process
A researcher compiles his or her paper and sends it to the editorial office. Nowadays, some journals
accept papers only via email. In some fields, such as information science, researchers are required to
submit the actual program code they used in their research.
When the editorial office receives the manuscript, they will notify the authors that it has been received. From this point on, the status of the paper is considered submitted. However, it is not certain at this stage whether the paper will be published.
In some top-tier journals, such as Nature, the manuscript is reviewed by the editors prior to a peer review. If it is judged to be not of publishable quality, the manuscript may be returned to the author before the peer review.
Selection of Reviewers
Upon receipt of the manuscript, the editor searches for suitable reviewers and asks them to review the
manuscript. Usually, the author is not informed of who the reviewers are.
One or more reviewers are selected among researchers working in the same field as that of the paper. To keep the review independent from the author, the journal selects collaborators and colleagues who are not related to the author. Generally speaking, reviewers tend to be those who have previously contributed to the journal or whose names are listed as references on the paper.
After receiving the manuscript, the reviewers evaluate the content. At this time, the reviewers do not
know who else is reviewing the manuscript, and they work completely independently from each other.
In the end, the reviewer returns the paper to the editor with questions and suggestions for improvement.
The results of a peer review can be summarized as the following four types:
Accept: The paper can be accepted as is.
Minor revision: The paper needs to be revised slightly. If correctly revised, the paper may be published.
Major revision: Major revisions are required. The manuscript must be reviewed again after the revisions by the author.
Reject: The paper should be rejected for publication.
Decision on Acceptance or Rejection The editors decide whether or not to publish the manuscript based on the reviewers’ opinions. In general, editors are not obliged to accept the opinions of reviewers in their decision, but if all the reviewers’ evaluations are below major revision, the manuscript will be rejected in many cases.
Notification of Result
The editor notifies the author of the acceptance or rejection.
When the manuscript is accepted, the reviewers’ comments will be sent along with the manuscript. In many cases, revisions of the paper will be requested. The author will revise the manuscript in response to the reviewers’ questions and suggestions for improvement, and return it to the editor. If the revisions are not satisfactory, the manuscript may be sent back for a review again.
If the manuscript is not accepted, the editor will notify that they reject it. In this case, the reviewer’s comments may not be included. If the manuscript is rejected, the submission process to the journal will be at an end. The author will think about making a submission to another journal or give up publication.
How to Improve Your Paper after Peer Review
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