Here’s the second of Pat Thomson’s blogs about refereeing journal articles.


Journals always ask reviewers to recommend whether an article should be published as is, or whether the writer should do small or large revisions. They also ask if the article should be rejected outright.

Making a publication recommendation can feel like the hardest part of the reviewing process.

New reviewers often think they don’t have enough experience…. They don’t know enough about the journal, they don’t yet have a strong, internalised sense of what makes for a good article – after all they haven’t written a lot themselves. They think, erroneously but understandably, who am I to decide this? They forget that they have actually READ a lot. Reviewing can also produce feelings of anxiety, guilt or sadness – we know that someone, somewhere, could be bitterly disappointed by what we have recommended. These negative feelings are not necessarily rational – but they are a logical response to the game…

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