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Choosing & Evaluating Journals, Publishers & Conferences: Peer Review

This guide provides information on choosing and evaluating journals for possible publication.

Peer Review

Peer review is the process by which a scholarly publication (such as a paper or a research proposal) is checked by people who are experts in the same field to make sure it meets that the techniques used and conclusions conform to standards before it is published or accepted for publication. Evaluate the nature of the journal’s peer review process.

  • How many people evaluate the article? Is there only one person or do more than one person evaluate the article?
  • Is the review process open (the reviewers or referees know the author name) or blind (author's name is removed from the article)?
  • Are authors asked to suggest names of potential reviewers or does the editor identify and choose potential peer reviewers (blind peer review)? An editor of a journal that published a controversial article written by a climate change skeptic resigned after climate scientists pointed out problems with the article’s techniques and conclusions. The journal that published the skeptic's paper asks authors to suggest potential reviewers. The author of a controversial or marginal article may have only suggested reviewers who shared their views (e.g. a climate change skeptic suggested other climate change skeptics as reviewers). Ideally, peer review should be blind (the author should not know the names of reviewers) and reviewers should be chosen by the editor or the editorial board, not the authors.