For Peer Reviewers: Writing the Review

[Download a printable version of this guide.]

At Frontiers, peer review provides the Editors with necessary information for making a decision as to whether or not a manuscript should be published in Frontiers. In their report, reviewers are asked to remain objective, offer constructive feedback, and recommend a course of action. Peer reviewers should keep in mind that the most useful reports set out the reasons for or against publication.

Reviewers’ reports should help author(s) strengthen the manuscript so that it may become acceptable for future publication in Frontiers or elsewhere. When offering a negative review, peer reviewers should explain the major weaknesses of the manuscript so that rejected authors understand the basis for the editorial decision and how the manuscript can be improved.

Peer reviewers are welcome to submit confidential comments to the Editors.

Peer reviewers are asked to address the following aspects of a manuscript when preparing their discursive review report:

  • Who will be interested in reading this manuscript, and why?
  • Does the title accurately reflect the contents?
  • Does the abstract concisely summarize the purpose and conclusions of the essay?
  • What are the main claims of the manuscript and how significant are they to the field of education abroad?
  • How does the manuscript stand out from others in the field?
  • Are the claims made in the manuscript:
    • novel? If not, please reference previous work that compromises the novelty of the manuscript.
    • discussed appropriately within the context of the previous literature?
    • convincing? What further evidence is needed to support them? Alternatively, have the authors overstated or oversold their claims?
  • Is previous literature appropriately referenced?
    • If not, what references should be included or excluded?
  • Are the methods used in the manuscript true to the academic discipline it represents?
  • Is the reporting of any data and methodology sufficiently detailed and transparent to enable reproducing the results?
  • Where applicable, are any statistical tests used appropriately? Are their application and results accurately described?
  • Are figures and tables
    • Clear/informative
    • Accurate/adequate?
  • Is there other work to be done that would strengthen the paper further? (e.g., an additional test, more data, etc.)
  • How much further work is needed to improve the manuscript? And how difficult would it be to do this work? I.e., Can the work required be addressed in a minor revision, or is a full rewrite needed?
  • Do you have any ethical concerns, e.g., related to the use of human subjects in the research, host community interactions, or failure to employ good practice in any study abroad programs discussed?
  • Comment on the style of writing.
    • Is the manuscript clearly written?
    • If not, how could it be made more clear or accessible, particularly to non-specialists?
  • If the essay is longer than recommended, is its length justified or can it be shortened and, if so, how?
  • If the manuscript is deemed unacceptable, is the work sufficiently promising to encourage authors to resubmit?
  • If the manuscript is deemed unacceptable but promising, what specifically would make it acceptable?
  • Please indicate any particular part of the manuscript, data, or analyses that you feel is outside the scope of your expertise, or that you were unable to assess fully.
  • Please address other specific question asked by the editor via email, if any.

Submitted reviewer reports should address the spirit of these questions and document the peer reviewer’s thought process. Peer reviewers are asked to justify their arguments in detail and cite supporting references where available. Any doubts a peer reviewer has regarding appropriate standards and mores specific to the field should be directed to the Editor who requested the review.

[Download a printable version of this guide.]