The Peer Review Process

A Guide to Succeeding in Academia
By Samhar Almomani on Feb 6, 2023
eContent Pro

The peer review process is a system that is used to determine the quality of a manuscript before the piece gets published. This process relies on researchers and experts in the relevant research area of the manuscript, and they are expected to assess the manuscript based on originality, validity, relevance, and significance. This helps editors decide whether they should go through with publishing the manuscript in their journal. As researchers value having their work published in notable journals in their field, it is important to understand the many processes that occur behind the scenes in order to ensure that the manuscript has the best chance of becoming published.

Peer review and publication are not easy tasks. They are often frustrating and time-consuming. It is common for it to take a year from a manuscript’s submission to the time it is published. The process is also known to be competitive, as there are many researchers out there who want to get their work noticed and disseminated. For highly competitive journals, such as Science, the acceptance rate is often less than 8% of the articles received. The New England Journal of Medicine, another prestigious journal, is known to publish just 6% of the submissions received. However, scholars and researchers often want their work shared and published in competitive journals that are read by many in the field (University of California-Berkeley, 2022).

(Read more about academic publishing here!)

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With the fact that researchers can improve their chances of getting accepted into a journal if they understand the many nuances of the peer review process, we can delve into the facets of peer reviewing. The process starts when a manuscript is submitted to a journal. First, the manuscript gets assessed in order to see if it fits within the journal’s submission guidelines. If the manuscript is found to be relevant to the journal’s aim and scope, the editorial team will select potential peer reviewers who have expertise in the field that is the main focus of the manuscript. These peer reviewers are selected with the intent to review manuscript to the best of their abilities and produce recommendations based on their reading of the manuscript (BioMed Central, n.d.).

There are four main kinds of peer review that are commonly used by journal editors. These are single-blind, double-blind, open peer, and transparent peer. Single-blind refers to when reviewers know the names of the authors of the manuscript, but the authors do not know who the reviewers are, unless a reviewer decides to sign the report. On the other hand, in double-blind peer review, the reviewers do not know the names of the authors, and the authors also do not know the names of the reviewers of their manuscript (BioMed Central, n.d.).

(Do’s and Don'ts of the Peer Review Process )

The other two kinds of peer review models are a little bit more complicated. In open peer, the authors are aware of who their reviewers are, and the reviewers also know who the authors are. If the manuscript is reviewed and ends up being accepted by the editors, the named reviewer reports are published along with the article and the authors’ response to the reviewer(s). In the case of a transparent peer, the reviewers know the names of the authors, but similar to single-blind, the authors would not know who the reviewers are unless they choose to sign the review report. The main difference between transparent peer and single-blind is that when published, the transparent peer reviewed manuscript will be published with anonymous review reports and the authors’ response to the reviewer(s), while this is not the case for single-blind (BioMed Central, n.d.).

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