How to review a paper

person Breyfolder_openHow Toaccess_time April 21, 2016

The following is a selection of wisdom imparted from Emily to a rookie reviewer. When reviewing a paper keep the following in mind:

  1. Make sure to give a summary paragraph for the editor. This should include an overview of what the paper does and what you learned. It should also include a recommendation e.g. publish after minor revisions, publish after major revisions, not recommended for publication. For all the above options give detailed reasons as to why. Note if you are not qualified to understand something presented in the analysis. You want to point this out so the editor has an idea if at least one of the reviewers has the expertise to make an assessment on a specific component of the analysis.
  2. Major Comments: This section includes bigger questions for the authors. Did you think about how XYZ may have affect your results? I would have expected the analysis to account for X.  Is there a disconnect between the conclusions drawn and the methods? Are the conclusions overstepping? Suggest useful papers to cite or consult to strengthen the analysis. Don’t just suggest they site your work, this is a total uncool move.
  3. Minor Comments: This is where you should bring up any typos, spelling or grammar mistakes.

When writing a review make sure to use language that makes it about the paper not the authors.

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