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How To Increase The Speed Of Peer Review Process

HomeEducationalHow To Increase The Speed Of Peer Review Process

When it comes to peer-reviewing, a potential concern is the timeframe. Here we discuss some practical ways a reviewer can speed up the peer review process.

The action of reviewing something is pretty much like a formal assessment that encourages general observation and perception. When movie reviewers or critics are welcome to express their perspectives after seeing the performance through a variety of windows, food reviewers might be putting their critical appraisal to talk about their experience.

Unlike a movie or food review, when it comes to evaluating and reviewing scholarly works, journals, or other academic publications, reviewers don’t only expect to employ efficient behaviour; it needs to be fair and accurate too. Over and above that, one probable query and concern will include the timeframe.

Before we proceed, let’s make a move to learn more about peer review.

What is peer reviewing? Why the process requires a long timeline?

In general, before publishing a manuscript, the editorial or publishing team looks for potential peer reviewers who are experts in the needed field to review whether the writing fits within the journal’s scope. Especially in the scientific publishing sector, from life sciences to social sciences, the peer-reviewing system is used frequently to validate the originality and significance of new findings and discoveries.

Regarding the timeframe by which a journal is submitted, this factor can vary dramatically. Peer reviewing might take one week, two weeks, or even months, which creates concern for the authors. But it needs to be understood that, though sometimes full-time professionals do the reviewing, mostly experts voluntarily do the job on top of all their other responsibilities. Additionally, to add value to the author’s writing, they are not just pressing judgment but pointing, commenting, and numbering the possible improvement areas. To fulfil these functions, the reviewers require a good chunk of time.

Room to improve the speed of the peer-review process.

At times some reviewers may slow down the process intentionally, which can ultimately weaken the potency of peer-reviewing. Experienced reviewers are always aware of the time scales and look for chances to speed up the peer-reviewing process, as they value the efficiency of due process as well as a manuscript.

Let us discover some ways by which a reviewer can hasten the peer review process.

Before accepting the invitation, consider your expertise

Being a reviewer, you must be clear about the manuscript’s area of focus before accepting or declining an invitation. Only if you consider yourself qualified enough and you are sure of your willing attitude to work on the particular section, take on the chance. Otherwise, you might end up taking a bunch of extra time just to understand the topic itself. So, when you receive the paper, focus on the abstract and be clear about the scope.

Respond promptly

Once you know the focus area of the paper, give a quick read to skim through the manuscript’s content. This would create another opportunity for you to be more clear about the content and to find out the possible scope of flaws. Such as, if you point out fatal flaws of the manuscript where the method used is unethical or kind or demeaning to the overall scope, you can reject the invitation before going to a more detailed read. Try to do it promptly, be it to reject or accept, unless you delay the process.

Make a note of the deadline

In case you accept the invitation, be sure about the timeline so that you don’t become the cause of the publication delays. Check out your previously assigned work on the queue and schedule your review task in a way that you don’t miss the deadline. Even if you need extra time, ask about the extension at the initial stage but not one day before the deadline.

Go through the reviewer’s guideline

Don’t ignore the guidelines, no matter how experienced you are in giving a review. Because the guidelines will not only assist you in putting your best but also acknowledge what the publishing or editorial team is expecting from you. Suppose the policy may say that the reviewer cannot choose to reveal their identity and can’t show any favouritism in the review. Still, if you decide to skip reading the guideline initially, you might end up showing your partiality. And modifying the mistake- will kill a considerable time.

Use citation managers to evaluate references

You can check the validity of the manuscripts by checking the cited notes or images using the citation manager. Even some free referencing tool facilitates reviewers to review the manuscripts while keeping the cited materials side by side. Completing the evaluation takes less time as you don’t even have to leave the document every time you click on the cited sources. Some free referencing tool also eliminates more hassle saving you time as you can link out the references directly from the document.

Evaluate all aspects and note down the comments immediately

When you will go for a more detailed and critical read to find out the relevance of the writing with the manuscript subject, point out those areas immediately that you consider being addressed as major or minor flaws. Maintain a systematic process while commenting; you can use numbering to turn it easier for you and also for the editor to track further. In case you note down the areas identified as strengths and flaws since the beginning, you can minimise the required time to write the final critique.

Don’t try to rewrite the manuscript; your work is to review

Your work is not about editing the copy; you are assigned to find out the relevancy and originality of the findings. You might have to review papers written by non-native speakers, and here you have to avoid the format until the concept is understandable. Please don’t use your valuable time correcting grammar, spelling or writing style until it prevents you from understanding the proposed content’s relevancy.

Now you have a valuable understanding of the peer-review process, and you can employ some of these tricks, be it by downloading the best citation manager or by responding swiftly to new publications or pre-print servers.

But again, to speed up the process, try not to lose consistency in providing constructive feedback to help the author improve the paper, and consider the author and the effort labored to get the document ready for the start of the “peer review” process.

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Emma Sneddon
Emma Sneddon
Emma Sneddon, a freelance writer and an independent blogger. I'm a polymath who is enthusiastic about anything related to tech, trends, travel and a minimalistic lifestyle. I mostly write about sustainable and alternative living solutions.

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