Peer Review Guidelines

Peer review is designed to assess the validity, quality and often the originality of articles for publication. Its ultimate purpose is to maintain the integrity of science by filtering out invalid or poor quality articles.


From a publisher’s perspective, peer review functions as a filter for content, directing better quality articles to better quality journals and so creating journal brands. Running articles through the process of peer review adds value to them. For this reason publishers need to make sure that peer review is robust.


Peer Review at Its Best


What peer review does best is improve the quality of published papers by motivating authors to submit good quality work – and helping to improve that work through the peer review process.  In fact, 90% of researchers feel that peer review improves the quality of their published paper


Editor Feedback


“Pointing out the specifics about flaws in the paper’s structure is paramount. Are methods valid, is data clearly presented, and are conclusions supported by data?” (Editor feedback)

“If an editor can read your comments and understand clearly the basis for your recommendation, then you have written a helpful review.” (Editor feedback)


Improving Effectiveness


Some of the ways in which SeekingPro is learning to improve the efficiency of the process, include:

Reducing the amount of repeat reviewing by innovating around transferable peer review

Providing training and best practice guidance to peer reviewers

Improving recognition of the contribution made by reviewers


How to perform a peer review


You’ve received or accepted an invitation to review an article. Now the work begins. Here are some guidelines and a step by step guide to help you conduct your peer review. 

  • General and Ethical Guidelines
  • Step by step Guide to Reviewing a Manuscript
  • Top Tips for Peer Reviewers
  • Working with Editors
  • Reviewing Revised Manuscript
  • Tips for Reviewing a Clinical Manuscript
  • Reviewing Registered Reports

Reviewer Scoresheets

The reviewer scoresheet is the form sent to reviewers to structure their responses. Not all journals use a scoresheet, but we’ve found it’s the best way to ensure all the key issues are addressed. Read our recommendations about how to customize the scoresheet to encourage the most helpful reviews:

Finding Reviewers

Journals often struggle to find a sufficient number of reviewers who are willing to review in a timely manner, particularly in niche areas. See our guide to strategies for finding additional reviewers.

Chasing Reviewers

Manuscripts need to be processed in a timely manner to ensure author satisfaction and to avoid publication delays, but the review process needs to remain robust and rigorous.

Double blind review

In this type of peer review the reviewers don’t know the identity of authors, and vice versa. This is the most common form of peer review amongst social science and humanities journals.


  • Research is judged fairly, keeping bias out of the equation
  • Author and reviewer benefit from some level of protection against cism


  • Anonymity isn’t guaranteed, as it could be fairly straightforward discover the identity of the author (either because of the area of research, the references or the writing style)
  • Some argue that knowledge of the author’s identity helps the reviewer come to a more informed judgement – and that without this the review suffers

Post publication review


With this type of peer review, the option for appraisal and revision of a paper continues – or occurs – after publication. This may take the form of a comments page or discussion forum alongside the published paper. Crucially, post publication peer review does not exclude other forms of peer review and is usually in addition to, rather than instead of, pre-publication review.