Peer review best practice

The Association of American University Presses has published guidelines to best practice peer review.

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Peer review is an essential part of advancing and disseminating scholarly research.  The process should provide fair and rigorous feedback to help authors strengthen their work and to enable editors and their colleagues to reach publishing decisions.

The Association of American University Presses has recently completed a two year project to set out best practice when it comes to the entire peer review process.

The Handbook (free to download here) explores every stage of the review process.

Decisions about when to conduct peer review

  • Almost always, peer review should be satisfactorily completed prior to contracting the author
  • Contracts should state that final manuscripts must also be accepted by faculty or governance boards
  • New editions, co-publications with international publishers, translations and some works intended for general readers may be excused from peer review.  Each publisher may have its own policies

Digital and multimodal projects

  • Complex projects may require multiple reviews including reviewers of the technology and of best digital practice as well as of the content

The peer review process

  • If a reviewer wishes to make their identity known to the author, then it is good practice to show the author the review anonymously first
  • To ensure anonymity, editors may need to edit or amend reviews to remove obvious clues
  • If the editor has done this, they must send a marked up review to the reviewer for approval

Working with reviewers

  • Usually established scholars with relevant expertise
  • Editors may provide a list of questions for reviewers
  • Publishers should have a range of reviewer questions, dependent on the type of publication (e.g. scholarly monograph, course books, poetry etc)
  • Guidelines to reviewers should specify who will see the reports and who will know the reviewer’s identity
  • Payment in the form of honorariums, not fees
  • Peer reviewers should be given 6-8 weeks to review a full manuscript
  • Editors have a responsibility to review the reviewers and to look out for bias

The full handbook can be downloaded here.

Original source: Digital Book World