How to improve your role in the peer review process

Writing Accountability PartnerServing as manuscript peer reviewer is an important, critical professional activity, yet most peer reviewers do not receive any mentoring in the process from their colleagues. Peer review is only as good as the individuals who participate. Individuals who provide constructive reviews can enhance their own writing skills and extend their professional reputation through editors who will often look to good reviewers as future journal editorial advisory board members.

When reviewing a journal, read and evaluate the manuscript from different three perspectives, and employing three critical assumptions: [Read more…]

An inside look at peer review

Academic presses invest a lot of effort in the peer review process. Writing Accountability PartnerWhile most academics understand the process — either from personal experience or tales shared at conferences — less understood is how editors and publishers view peer review.

“The primary reason for peer reviewing manuscripts is to reinforce the publisher’s reputation as serious and professional,” said Jessica Gribble, an acquisitions editor at Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Individual editors also value peer review, she said: “We can’t be experts in every subject we acquire, so we rely on reviews to help us know whether the content of the manuscript is high quality.” Another goal of the peer review process is to confirm what the press believes to be the market for the book. “We’re getting both a content analysis and a market analysis,” said Gribble. [Read more…]

How to get the most out of peer reviews

Subconcious MindRather than seeing the peer review process as negative, veteran academic authors William Stallings and Francine McKenzie encourage authors to see it as a valuable opportunity to improve their work.

McKenzie, an associate professor at the University of Western Ontario, said authors should see peer reviews as part of a process of improving a piece and one’s writing skills in general. “Think of peer review as more an intellectual exchange than a judgment,” she said. “With this mindset, authors can approach peer review with enthusiasm instead of apprehension.”

To get the most helpful peer review feedback for textbooks, Stallings, a prolific computer science textbook author, recommends working with your publisher to create a customized questionnaire for your book that asks reviewers for their opinions on the organization of the book, which chapters they would assign to their students, and which supplements they would like to use with the book. [Read more…]