At some point in a scholarly career, you will be asked to write peer reviewed journal articles. This process plays a big role in academic publishing and writing. All reviewers need to do these things objectively:
- Read a given manuscript;
- Provide an expert opinion about if it’s suitable for a further publication.
Besides, it’s necessary to determine both weak and strong sides because expert comments help authors revise their articles and make them stronger. You should point out writing mistakes and how a manuscript can be better organized.
How to read manuscripts objectively
First, decide if you want to accept an invitation to review articles because it should be accepted only if you think it’s appropriate. Analyzing these pointers will help you make the right decision:
- Do you have enough time?
- Do you have the necessary expertise for journal articles?
- Is there any conflict of interest?
Understand a particular subject matter to understand whether there’s any meaningful or original contribution to a given field. You shouldn’t accept any articles for peer reviewing if you can’t meet their deadlines. There can be different conflicts, and you need to avoid any of them.
Reading and analyzing originality
When reading a given manuscript, underline any significant sections and fix mistakes. Analyze its originality because it should make any original contribution to the chosen field. Decide if this research can interest other people involved in it. No matter how original a manuscript is, ensure that it fits a general scope of a specific journal.
Giving answers to important questions
Determine if the main argument convinced you by giving answers to some basic questions:
- Did you find a manuscript convincing, intriguing, and compelling?
- Does information support a thesis?
- Are there any extra facts that can make it stronger?
- Is it free of mistakes?
- Were methods and techniques appropriate for a given field?
- Is there any important information missing in this article?
- Is current literature synthesized properly?
- Are there any other background details required?
Assessing the quality of writing
When it comes to peer reviewed journal articles, assessing the quality of writing is an important task because poorly-written manuscripts will exhaust readers’ patients or impede the right understanding of the main argument. To achieve a good result, note the following things:
- Can you understand everything clearly?
- Does it need any good editing?
- Is its tone suitable?
Any peer reviewed article should have a list of references, so note the works cited and give them close scrutiny. Try to find answers to a few helpful questions, such as:
- Are there not enough or too many references?
- Are they from reliable sources of information?
- Are there any sources neglected to cite?
- Is the chosen citation format standard and accurate?
How to write a good peer reviewed report
Check important guidelines on how your report must be structured because they all should be followed. If you have a particular form to use, it will make report structuring an easy task. Sum up everything in several sentences to decide whether you have a correct understanding. For example, you need to identify questions, approaches, goals, and conclusions. If you can’t write your brief summary, determine whether the main argument is inconsistent or points aren’t logical and clear.
Identifying flaws and giving an overview
Give an overview of importance and sum up overall impressions from a manuscript. You can mention if a major argument is important or interesting and whether a conclusion is well-supported with strong data.
Identify possible flaws in the main argument because even strong journal articles have theoretical errors and assumptions that must be addressed. Put your criticisms in a peer reviewed report while being constructive. They are considered as extra steps to improve a paper and strengthen an argument. Clarify if all suggestions are mandatory or optional.
Critiquing the organization and pointing out strengths
You should not only criticize, but also to identify interesting and strong sides. Critique the writing and organization of journal articles because they may have good ideas, but must be carefully revised or reorganized. Some possible improvements include:
- A title that fails to capture the content accurately;
- An incomplete abstract;
- Section headings that don’t describe a given material accurately;
- A paper is too short or too long;
- A paper must be reorganized for its clarity;
- Writing is poor.
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