Peer review checklist for research paper

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Journal Paper Submission Process

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You can add this document to your study collection s Sign in Available only to authorized users. Description optional. Visible to Everyone. Just me. Add this document to saved. Is there a clear thesis or research question? Ideally, you will find one in the introduction that sets out what will be addressed in the paper.

Does the paper answer the research question? Do the points made link back to the thesis or question? Are there elements to the paper that are not supported by evidence? The author's own ideas and interpretations are vital to the paper; not every sentence requires a citation or a reference to another article. However, there may be a statement you notice that should be backed up by another source. Are there citations when ideas or quotations from other sources are used?

Does the conclusion wrap up the points of the article? Are there places where what is being said is unclear or ambiguous? A Step-by-Step Guide Peer Review The list above may seem overwhelming; give yourself enough time to consider each point. Start by reading the paper over once.

Make note what the paper is about mark the thesis statement and main points and what seems confusing. This will help you determine what will need work and comments. Go through the paper a second time, more slowly. Answer the questions in the above checklist. If the answers to these questions indicate that work is required, be specific see "Tips for Writing Comments" Go through the paper additional times until you feel you have completed a thorough peer-review. Instead of: "the thesis statement was weak," consider: "The thesis statement does not address the third point of the article--consider adding To avoid biases of all kinds, make a concerted, deliberate effort to always review the manuscript in front of you, not the authors or their location.

All thoughts and comments on it should only go to the editor. The process is basically the same for reviewing, except that a reviewer must be even more thorough. Here are a few tips, divided into four topics if you want some more suggestions on how to read critically, my post on how to read and understand the scientific literature applies to scientists as much as non-scientists. I suggest you take notes constantly as you go through the review process.

Absolutely avoid being unnecessarily harsh or in any way abusive; your criticism should be constructive in tone — a peer-review is not the place to demonstrate your wit or to disrespect authors in any way. As you go through your review, make sure to reference the specific parts of the manuscript that you are referring to for example, by line number.

Why Your Journal Should Have a Reviewer Checklist and What it Should Include

Ask yourself whether the questions the authors are addressing are really advancing the field in a meaningful way. This does not mean that an article has to be completely novel, but it does mean that the work contributes to the sum of knowledge in the field and does not, for example, simply repeat well known results.

I suggest identifying the specific question and doing a literature search on your own, as if YOU were writing the paper. Are you familiar with all of them? This approach has tangential benefits, as it will help you become better acquainted with the literature of your field. Some questions to ask:. The authors should have provided enough detail in both the methods and materials they have used, such that you can fully understand their experiments and that others can replicate them.

You need to be confident in your assessment of whether the authors did the experiments correctly. Keep in mind that while you have every right to ask the authors to do a different experiment, or to modify the way they carry out an existing one, this should be justified from the point of view of verifying the results reported. And remember that under no circumstances should you even think of doing this in order to slow a lab down so that your project can be published first. Absolutely feel free to ask for more results, or better ways of presenting them.

Revision Checklist

If you believe that the data require the review of a statistical expert or another kind of expert , recommend it to the editor. If you believe material in the Supplementary Online Information section would be more useful in the main body of the paper or vice versa , recommend it! By this point, you will probably have read the entirety of the paper several times.

Is the writing clear and free of grammatical errors?


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Have you read any associated statements, such as the Funders Statement, the Ethics Statement, and Conflict of Interest statement, and were they reasonable? Have the authors specified a mechanism by which they will make raw data from their experiments available?


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Have they specified how they will protect the identity of their human subjects particularly a concern in genomics research? Are there any additional ways in which the paper could be improved? Include these considerations in your write up to the editor.

12.1 Revision

There have been calls for doing away with anonymity of referees, as anonymity is seen by some as facilitating bullying. In contrast, this discussion in Nature Neuroscience recommended the continuation of anonymous review.

How to review manuscripts — your ultimate checklist

But I know several peers who have reached the opposite conclusion. The aim is to facilitate dialogue between reviewers, editors, and the author in order to improve the overall quality of the paper. One useful aspect of this policy is that new reviewers can now study the peer-review process of specific articles, and learn from the ways in which that process was conducted.