The long-standing tradition of expert peer review of academic works is a significant benefit to the author of those works and the content they have created.
Peer reviews provide authors with an objective analysis of their work from an expert peer in their discipline. The peer is reviewing the author’s content to ensure that it appropriately covers the field of study. Peer reviews are also designed to improve a manuscript's presentation, avoid possible misstatements, errors, or unintended plagiarism, and generally strive to suggest changes that will make the manuscript stronger. Such reviews also lend a publication credibility to other members in an academic domain as an objectively reviewed academic work.
There are various methods by which a work can be peer reviewed.
- Adversarial reviews sometimes can take opposing positions from an author and test out concepts in a book.
- An open review process is where the author and the reviewers are known to each other. The advantages of this process are that it prevents malicious comments, prevents reviewers from going on tangents or asserting their own ideas, and also encourages open and honest manuscript appraisals. Disadvantages of the open review are that such reviews may tend to be too polite, less honest, and may encourage reviewers to withhold or minimize criticism for fear of retribution or of hurting the author's feelings.
- What is known as a single blind review involves the names of the reviewers being withheld from the author. This type of review is the most common. Reviewers will not be influenced by the author and have the opportunity to be completely impartial. However, reviewers can use their anonymity to be overly harsh or critical or may delay their review in an effort to publish their own work in a field ahead of the author they are reviewing.
- A double blind review involves the names of both the reviewer and the author being withheld from one another. In this scenario, there can be very little reviewer bias, as the author is unknown and the reviewer is objectively considering only the merits of the work itself, not the author's reputation, good or bad. However, reviewers may still be able to decipher who the author is if the author frequently cites his previously published work or he or she is well known in a particular field of study.
Selection of the reviewer is very important to ensure their expertise and objectivity. Glassleaf maintains a bank of qualified, objective reviewers. Likewise, the author may be well served to provide a list of potential reviewers that are experts in their discipline to help guide the peer selection process.
At the beginning of the review process, a questionnaire is sent to the reviewer directing his or her comments toward such broad topics as organization, writing, and appropriate coverage of an academic field. Questions to the reviewer may include:
- Overall Organization - Please examine the Table of Contents. Is there anything about the sequence of chapters that needs to be changed? If so, why and how would you reorganize the book?
- Pedagogical Effectiveness - Does the author’s pedagogical organization of the book work in presenting its ideas and information?
- Elements - Should any elements be added, deleted, changed, or revised such as tables, imagery, or special features?
- Topics - Are there topics that need to be added, deleted, updated, or revised?
- Content Coverage - Is there appropriate and thorough coverage of topics? Is the content current and accurate?
- Strengths and Weaknesses - What are three major strengths of the manuscript? Would you purchase this text? What are its major weaknesses and would they prevent you from purchasing this text?
- Illustration Program (Art and Photographs) - Does the art program support the text and help bring it to life? Do you have any ideas to offer the author regarding the illustrations? Please suggest any photographs or artwork you think would be appropriate to the text.
- Target Audience - Are the focus, coverage, and writing level of the content appropriate for the group of people you are trying to reach?
The author retains sole discretion whether to incorporate any of the recommendations, changes, enhancements, or modifications suggested by the peer reviewer into their final manuscript.
The peer review process takes place prior to any editing so that all changes incorporated by the author will be edited in context with their original material.
Entrusting an author’s work to noteworthy peers can provide them with clear, objective feedback to help make your work a leader in its field.
Glassleaf Peer Review Services
This service is designed to save you time and effort in gathering peer reviews of your work. A Glassleaf Content Project Manager will manage the entire peer review process and will consolidate feedback for you. Your Project Manager will provide you the actual peer reviews and in a summary report, will highlight significant and consistent commentary from your peers’ comments. After the report is compiled, you will meet with your Project Manager to review the summary of the reviewer’s commentary. It is suggested that a minimum of two reviewers be contracted to perform a peer review.
Two types of peer review services are offered:
- Single Blind: Glassleaf provides peer reviewers in your discipline (number of reviewers will vary according to discipline and your preference) or you supply reviewers’ names for Glassleaf to manage. During this process, you will be identified as the author to the reviewers. Glassleaf sends your manuscript to each reviewer, analyzes all peer review feedback, and compiles a concise and comprehensive report for you. You will receive our professionally prepared report as well as all the peer reviewer comments. After the report is compiled, you will meet with your Project Manager to review the summary of the reviewer’s commentary.
- Double Blind: Glassleaf provides peer reviewers in your discipline (number of reviewers will vary according to discipline and your preference). These reviewers will be anonymous. In addition, you, the author, are not identified to the reviewers. A Glassleaf Content Project Manager will provide you with all the anonymous peer reviews as well as a summary report that highlights significant and consistent commentary from your peers’ comments. You will meet with your Project Manager to review the summary of the reviewer’s commentary.
For more information, see Peer Review: Strengthening Your Content.