Peer Reviewers Guidelines
These guidelines are intended to guide both experienced and new peer reviewers in conducting their reviews of articles submitted to Alternautas. First-time reviewers are strongly advised to read these guidance notes thoroughly, before commencing their assigned review. They are drawn from guidelines originally (2013) developed in consultation with Warwick’s University Library and the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning in combination with other academic publishers’ best practices. Any questions regarding these guidelines or the peer review process should be directed in the first instance to the Managing Editors.
First-time reviewers may also find the following publication of interest in understanding the role and requirements of peer-reviewers:
>Johnson, G.J., Tzanakou, C., & Ionescu, I., 2018. An Introduction to Peer Review. Coventry: PLOTINA.
General Review Policy
All submitted manuscripts undergo an initial originality review and academic scope screening by the Editorial Board before being considered for peer review. Alternautas uses a double-blind, editor-mediated and journal facilitated peer-review process. Texts under review remain the intellectual property of the reviewers and are not publicly disseminated or published. Submissions are typically initially sent to two peer reviewers to gain contrasting submission quality assessments, although more reviewers may be utilised for some works. At the Managing Editors’ discretion critical reflections, book reviews and interviews may not be subject to peer review but will still undergo a more detailed editorial scrutinising process before acceptance for publication.
Alternautas encourages readers with an interest in registering as potential peer-reviewers for the title to either indicate this within their profile (roles) section or by contacting the Managing Editors directly. We welcome reviewers who are established or early career researchers from any disciplinary tradition or field who have expertise in critical approaches to the study of Abya Yala.
Introduction for Peer Reviewers
Thank you for agreeing to act as a peer reviewer for Alternautas. The Editorial Board values the effort and expertise reviewers contribute to maintaining the title’s quality assurance standards. Peer review is a critical element of scholarly publication, which acts as a filter, ensuring research is properly verified before being published and improves the quality of the research through a rigorous review by other experts. It also serves to develop the authorial academic voice of submitting scholars, through the feedback and insight peer-reviewers provide to authors.
All submitted manuscripts are initially read by the Managing Editors. Only those papers which seemingly meet our submission quality criteria are then sent for formal review, saving time for reviewers and authors alike. The primary purpose of the subsequent peer review process is to provide Alternautas’ editors with the insight and information needed to decide whether submissions should be:
(1) Accepted for publication
(2) Required to undergo author revisions
(3) Submitted to further review
(4) Declined for publication.
The Editorial Board then utilises the reviewer’s advice to make the journal’s decision on submissions and communicate the outcome to submitting authors. Where papers require revisions, the editor will collate anonymised reviewer feedback recommendations for improvement and communicate these to authors. As Alternautas has a mission to foster emerging and new researchers’ publications especially from Latin American scholars, advice on authorial voice, structure and clarity along with scholarly content is especially valued by our authors. Hence, whenever practical, reviewers should indicate how suboptimal pieces could be reworked and strengthened to the point at which they would be acceptable for publication.
Accepting A Review Assignment
In general, we expect all reviewers to conform to the basic principles for peer reviewers, as outlined by the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE). In particular, we would highlight the importance of informing the Editorial Board or Managing Editors in a timely manner if you become unable to complete a review or require a period of extension. We also expect peer reviewers, once they have accepted a review assignment, to respond to enquiries from the Editorial Board as soon as is practical. Peer reviewers who do not meet these expectations will be removed from active consideration for future peer reviews.
If you are uncertain as to your suitability to accept an assigned review or wish to suggest a peer or colleague who would be a suitable alternative reviewer, please contact the managing editors to discuss this further.
Reviewing an article can be quite a time consuming, as reading the paper and writing the review comments may take a number of hours to complete. Please ensure you have sufficient time before the reviewing deadline stipulated in the review assignment invitation (normally 4 weeks) to conduct a thorough review of the submission. If other commitments mean our deadline appears too short, but you are still willing to review, please contact the editor to discuss an extension, or advise on alternative potential reviewers.
Conflicts of Interest
A conflict of interest will not necessarily eliminate you from reviewing an article, but full disclosure to the Editorial Board will allow them to make an informed decision on whether they are happy for the review to continue or not. Conflicts may include the following:
(1) Working in the same department or institution as one of the authors*
(2) Having previously collaborated or published with an author*
(3) Having a professional, personal or financial connection to the article
*While Alternautas operates a double-blind peer-review process to avoid unconscious bias, it is understood that experienced reviewers may still stylistically recognise an author’s work.
Please notify the editor if you recognise any of these or other conflicts when you reply to an invitation to review, or at any other point in the reviewing process, so we can take this into account in your comments.
Conducting the Review
Please conduct your review confidentially, as the article you have been asked to review should not be disclosed to a third party. If you do wish to gain an opinion from a colleague regarding the submission, you must consult the editor first. To maintain our double-blind peer-review process and protect your identity, please do not include any personal details (e.g. name, affiliation etc.,) within your review’s text. Under no circumstances should you attempt to contact the author. Be aware when you submit your review any recommendations you have made will contribute to the final decision on whether to accept the submission for publication, taken by the Editorial Board.
Note: You are advised to save your review text as a file on your own system, rather than typing it directly into the OJS review portal. This ensures your review is not lost, should any unexpected problems arise when submitting your text.
A review form is provided to assist in your evaluation of the article which includes space to comment on the criteria below:
Does the manuscript contain original information that progresses knowledge on this subject? Are there original findings, or do conceptual arguments provide a somewhat new perspective on established thinking?
Does the Abstract (summary) clearly and accurately describe the content of the article?
Is the introduction to the subject matter clearly and concisely stated?
Overall, do you find the methodology appropriate for the subject matter being examined in the submission, with no significant weaknesses?
Are the interpretations and conclusions justified by the results?
Are the references up to date, relevant and correctly formatted? Are there any glaring omissions of key works?
First-time reviewers may also find it beneficial to read the COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers, as this provides some very useful additional information.
Communicating Your Report to the Editor
Once you have completed your evaluation of the article, the next step is to write up your reviewer’s report, which we ask reviewers to submit via our secure online system. To assist you in this submission, Alternautas provides reviewers with an online template to complete, which highlights the various aspects of the paper to be reviewed. There is also space to make general remarks to authors, along with confidential comments which can only be seen by the Editorial Board. It is helpful to briefly summarise your review’s conclusions at the beginning of your report, which provides the editor with an overview of your thoughts, and context for authors as to your critique.
The report should contain the key elements of your review, addressing the points outlined above. Alternautas encourages the reviewer’s commentary to represent a courteous and constructive intellectual critique of the text, rather than overt criticism of it or the author. As each submission to Alternautas usually has multiple reviewers, often drawn from differing disciplinary backgrounds, the Editorial Board will take a final decision on whether to accept or reject a paper based on sometimes conflicting advice. Hence, it can be beneficial to set out clear arguments for and against publication, rather than making a singular recommendation within your review text.
However, reviewers are asked at the end of the review to provide a final clear assessment, based on their professional experience, of what steps the Editorial Board should take next with the submission. These are as follows:
- a) Accept Submission: Paper to be accepted, and prepared for publication as submitted.
- b) Revisions Required: Paper should be accepted, provided the author makes suggested improvements to the text. This is the most frequently selected response.
- c) Resubmit for Review: The article is promising, but you are unable to decide if it is sufficiently scholarly for publication, and further reviewer comments are needed.
- d) Decline Submission: For reasons outlined in your review, the paper falls short of suitability for publication in an academic journal.
This review submission normally marks the end of the peer-review process, and Alternautas thanks you for your intellectual labour and contribution to maintaining our journal’s professional practices and quality levels.
When reviewers agree to assess a submission to Alternautas, we consider this a commitment to review subsequent revisions (if Revisions Required is the Editorial Board’s decision). However, editors will not send a resubmitted paper back to the reviewers, if it seems authors have made insufficient efforts to address the prior critique and recommendations for improvements.