Man looking at papers

The journal peer review process

Understand the journal and case study peer review process and read our tips for revising your submission.

When you have submitted your paper or case study, up to three experts in the field will review it to provide validation, quality control and added value to you in the form of constructive feedback.

Role of the journal editor

The editor decides whether your paper fits the aims and scope of the journal, then select the reviewers and guide the paper through several revision stages.

Role of the reviewer

Your reviewers will read your paper or case study and teaching note and provide the journal editor with detailed and useful comments.

The journal review process

Download and keep your step-by-step guide (PDF).

Download infographic

Infographic showing peer review process

 

What do reviewers look for?

This will vary from title to title, for example a journal with a strong research focus will put more emphasis on research methodology, while journals publishing case studies will focus on the quality of the case and accompanying teaching note.

The questions editors ask reviewers

  • Does the article or case study say something original? Does it add to the body of knowledge?
  • If it is a case study, is this its first use?
  • If it’s research, is the design, methodology, theoretical approach and critical review sound?
  • Are the results well-presented and have they been correctly interpreted? Is the analysis sufficiently rigorous?
  • Is the submission set in the context of the wider literature?
    • Are there sufficient relevant citations?
    • Are these well referenced and are other people's views credited?
  • Is the submission accurate?
  • Is any information missing or wrong?
  • Does the title of the submission accurately reflect the contents?
  • How useful would the submission be to a professional or student?
  • Is it an example of “good practice”?
  • If research-focused, could the study be replicated in other situations?

Tips for revising your submission

A reviewer may recommend that the editor immediately accepts or rejects a submission, or they may request revisions. We have developed some helpful tips to guide you through the revision process.

View comments as feedback

View the comments and the work required as feedback, not criticism. The peer review process is very likely double blind, so you don't know who your reviewers are, and they don't know who you are.

Take time to reflect

Put the comments to one side for a few days, then come back to them. You will be in a better frame of mind to appreciate exactly what is being said.

Agree a timescale

Agree a timescale with the editor to carry out the revisions, including gathering more data or reading new literature, if required. We suggest 30 days for minor revisions and 90 days to resubmit for major revisions.

Get clarity on reviewer comments

Clarify any ambiguity or contradiction in the reviewers' comments.

Plan your amendments

Decide the order in which you tackle the amendments. You might want to work through your submission chronologically, by reviewer, or perhaps attempt the more minor revisions first.

Proofread your revised work

Once you have revised your submission, proofread and spell check it again. Carefully!

Summarise your amendments

Write a covering letter to the editor, stating what you have done for each reviewer, and if you haven't done what the reviewers requested, provide detailed reasons why not.

Thank your reviewers

Thank your reviewers for their positive comments and respond graciously to constructive feedback.

Your next steps

Once you have resubmitted your paper, it will be reassigned to the same reviewers to check whether their comments have been addressed. If sufficient improvements have been made, your paper will be accepted. If not, you may be asked to perform multiple revisions or have your paper withdrawn.

You will receive an email from the journal editor with the final decision. Once accepted, your paper will be processed by our in-house team. 

Understand the publishing process

See all the steps in our journal publishing and production process and download our helpful infographic.

View publishing step by step

Promote your work

We have some great tips to help you promote your work. Find out about increasing the impact and visibility of your research.

Read our marketing tips

Discover our awards

Submit your paper to our doctoral research awards or find out more about our Literati Awards for Excellence. 

Learn about awards