Peer-review process: Evaluation criteria and step-by-step process of writing a peer-review report

The peer-review process ensures that the submitted manuscript meets the quality standards of the journal. Peer review is an essential part of the publishing process by which editors decide whether or not they want to publish the article. The role of the peer reviewers is to assess the language quality and filter low-quality academic papers. As a reviewer, your objective is to read the manuscript carefully and provide an objective overview. Understand the concept first so that you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of the paper.

What are the reasons behind writing a peer-review report?

  • Improve the overall quality of the academic paper
  • Provide constructive feedback to the author
  • Verify the report findings
  • Check whether or not the manuscript matches with the scope of the journal

Evaluation criteria for different components of the manuscript:

Title: Does the title reflect the topic and sub-topic of the paper? Are the keywords inserted properly? Is the title too short?

Abstract: Is the abstract informative enough? Did the author summarize the information correctly? Check the synopsis reported in the paper.

Introduction: Does the introduction describe the research gap? Is there enough background information?

Methodology: Has the right method been used to carry out the research? Can it be used to replicate the experiment?

Results: Are the results stated clearly? Are all the necessary details available?

Discussion: Are there citations present in the paper? Has the author discussed the results and conclusions as they should be?

Tables and Figures: Is the data verified? Does the research paper provide details about the experiments?

Step-by-step process of drafting a peer-review report:

Guidelines: Check the journal’s official website regarding guidelines provided by the publishers. Learn the do’s and don’ts of structuring your report.

Summary: Summarize the key information of the paper based on your understanding and the research output.

Overview: Provide an overview of the paper by analyzing each section of the paper. What do you think of the title? Is the research question addressed correctly? Is there enough evidence to support the author’s argument?

Check: Detect errors and mistakes in the academic paper. Provide constructive feedback to help the author identify the sections of the paper that need to be re-written.

Identify strengths and weaknesses: Read the paper thoroughly and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the paper. You can make a table with the name of each section and mention the strong and weak points.

Organization: Check the structure of the paper and identify the areas that need improvement. Does the title inform about the topic? If not, then suggest a new title. Are the heading and sub-heading accurate? How well-structured is the paper? How long is the paper?

Checklist for evaluating the manuscript:

Aim and scope: Does the research paper match the aim and scope of the journal?

Contribution: Does the research contribute to society in a constructive way? Is the research solving any problems? How important is the field of research?

Quality: Is there clarity and logic? How are the ideas presented?

Accuracy: How accurate are the data and figures? Is the result correct?

Novelty: Is the main idea for research new? How original is the concept?

Impact: Are there any chances for the paper to be cited? How impactful are the findings and search results?

Relevance: Does the article provide enough information about the research application?

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