The importance of peer reviewers
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad is deeply appreciative of the hundreds of volunteer professionals who have served as peer reviewers. We thank them for their time and commitment to a strong and efficient publication process.
The peer review process is essential to scholarly publishing. In Frontiers’ 20+ years of experience, the process has resulted in greatly improved and refined manuscripts. The feedback provided by peer reviewers to authors makes manuscripts stronger and the authors’ findings clearer for readers.
Professionals in the field of education abroad who are interested in serving as a peer reviewer for Frontiers are invited to indicate their interest and expertise using our online form.
Frontiers has a responsibility to our readers and to the field of education abroad at large. Editorial decisions are made in light of what best serves those ends. Decisions on acceptance of manuscripts are ultimately the responsibility of the Editors.
Criteria for publication
In order to be published in Frontiers a manuscript should:
- Present fresh research or thoughts;
- Provide strong evidence to support its conclusions;
- Be important to professionals in the field of education abroad;
- Be of interest to educators and researchers in related disciplines.
Accepted manuscripts generally represent significant contributions that serve to advance the thinking in the field.
Peer Review Policies
All research articles and essays submitted to Frontiers undergo peer review. Book reviews are generally not peer-reviewed. Reviews, correspondence, published corrections and other forms of contribution may be peer-reviewed at the discretion of the Editors.
Questions regarding the peer review process and the journal’s editorial processes should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions related to a manuscript should be directed to the Editor assigned to the manuscript.
The review process
All manuscripts submitted to the journal are first read by at least one member of the Editorial Staff. In the interest of time, only those manuscripts deemed likely to meet Frontiers editorial criteria are then sent for formal peer review. Manuscripts judged by the Editor(s) to be unsuited to the mission of the journal, of insufficient interest to the Frontiers readership, or otherwise inappropriate, are rejected without external review.
Manuscripts that meet Frontiers’ editorial criteria are sent for formal peer review, typically to two or three reviewers. Additional reviewers may be assigned if specialist advice is needed. The Editors then make a decision based on the reviewers’ advice as provided in the peer reviewer report, weighing other factors as well. The Editors are responsible for communicating decisions on submitted manuscripts to the corresponding author. Possible outcomes are:
- Manuscript is accepted, generally pending minor revisions;
- Authors are invited to revise the manuscript significantly to address concerns raised; revisions will be sent to peer reviewer(s) for further assessment before a final decision is reached;
- Manuscript is rejected, but authors are advised on changes to pursue to justify a future resubmission;
- Manuscript is rejected outright.
Editorial decisions are based on several factors, and may take into account information not available to the peer reviewers or authors.
The Editor(s) may return to reviewers for further information. Reviewers may be asked to provide follow-up advice.
In addition, reviewers may be asked to review subsequent revisions of a manuscript. Resubmitted manuscripts are carefully reviewed to ensure that the manuscript demonstrates a serious attempt to address the criticisms raised in the previous review. New peer reviewers may be engaged at this time at the discretion of the Editors.
Frontiers’ Editors reserve the right to contact funders, regulatory bodies, journals and the authors’ institutions at any time during the process when cases of suspected research or publishing misconduct arise.
Selecting and assigning peer reviewers
The choice of peer reviewers is based on factors such as disciplinary expertise, professionalism, specific recommendations, and Frontiers’ previous experience with a reviewer.
Before manuscripts are sent for review, potential peer reviewers are contacted to confirm their availability and absence of conflicts of interest. Messages between Editors and (potential) peer reviewers contain confidential information. Peer reviewers are asked to maintain in perpetuity the confidentiality of any information they receive in this process.
Peer reviewers who are slow or careless in their reports, or who do not provide reasoned views are generally not invited to review again.
All manuscripts submitted to Frontiers that are selected for peer review are sent to at least one, but usually two or more, peer reviewers. At the time of submission, authors may suggest suitable peer reviewers. They may also request that Editors exclude certain individuals from consideration for the role. Suggested reviewers should not represent a conflict of interest with any of the authors of the submission, nor have any past or present relationship with any of the authors that would impede their ability to provide an objective and unbiased review. The Editors reserve the right to choose appropriate reviewers for a submitted manuscript, and their choice of referees is final.
Frontiers is committed to efficient editorial decisions and publication which we believe is a valuable service to our authors and to the field of education abroad as a whole. Peer reviewers are asked to respond promptly within the number of days agreed. If, at any time during the review process, a peer reviewer anticipates a delay, they are asked to inform the Editor as soon as possible so that the Editor(s), in turn, can keep authors informed and find alternatives if necessary.
Frontiers does not release peer reviewers’ identities to authors or to other reviewers during the review and editing process or after the publication of an accepted article. Should peer reviewers believe they know the identity of an author, we ask peer reviewers not to identify themselves to authors. Authors and/or peer reviewers are asked to inform the Editor as soon as possible if a reviewer reveals his or her identity to the author.
Frontiers leaves open the possibility of collegial discussion after the peer review process has been completed by allowing peer reviewers to indicate on the online peer reviewer report form their willingness to be identified to the author(s) after a decision on the manuscript has been reached.
Any attempt by authors to confront a peer reviewer or determine her/his identity is unacceptable. Frontiers Editor(s) will neither confirm nor deny any speculation about reviewers’ identities.
Double-blind peer review
Frontiers makes every attempt to maintain a double-blind peer review process. Author names, institutional/organizational affiliations, and file metadata are removed from all manuscripts before they are sent out for review. To further guarantee anonymity, authors are responsible for removing author names, job titles, institution or organization names, office or department names, and proper names of study abroad programs before submission, as well as any other information that may make the individuals and institutions involved identifiable. The identifying information may be reinserted into accepted manuscripts at the revision and copyediting phase.
All details of the editorial and peer review process must be kept confidential by Editors, authors and peer reviewers. Peer reviewers must maintain confidentiality of manuscripts, regardless of whether or not a submitted manuscript is eventually published.
Online manuscript review
Peer reviewers are asked to submit their reports via our secure online form by following the link provided in the Editor’s email. Questions or concerns related to the submission of the form can be directed to the Editor who requested the review.
Transmitting and editing referees’ reports
It is the Frontiers Editors’ policy not to suppress reviewers’ reports. Peer reviewers are provided instructions and guiding questions to help them prepare their reports. Any comments for authors’ improvement of the manuscript are transmitted. However, a report may be edited for clarity, or to remove repetition, offensive language or comments that reveal confidential information.
A note on manuscript submissions from members of the Frontiers Editorial Board:
Frontiers takes care to engage professionals who are actively engaged in scholarly work in the field of international education as members of the Editorial Board. This, on occasion, results in members of the Editorial Board submitting manuscripts to the journal which they have authored or co-authored. These manuscripts receive the same treatment as all other submissions received. They are reviewed by the Editor for appropriateness in the order in which they are received and, if determined to be appropriate, are sent out to peer reviewers for further review under the double-blind process applied to all manuscripts. Final editorial decisions are made based on the recommendations of the anonymous peer reviewers. Only the Editor knows the identity of manuscript author(s) until such time as a manuscript is accepted for publication.