1. Help the authors to make the most of their paper.
The reviewers can help the authors to make the most of their paper and bring it to an appropriate audience. This can mean that with some minor of major changes the paper can be published in IP. Alternatively, if the paper is not fit for publication in IP, you can present suggestions to the authors for other journals or additional work. Reviewers should have a constructive rather than a destructive attitude.
2. Show respect for the author.
It is easy to show respect when you are reviewing a great paper but it may be more difficult when you think the paper is crap. At the same time, reviewers should realize that authors have generally much work in the paper and they are very anxious to hear what others – reviewers – think of it. Please treat them with respect in your qualifications and tone of voice. Use language that shows them you respect their position and work but that you think it is not suitable for publication in IP. Write a review like you would like to receive it when you have submitted a paper!
3. Be comprehensive, precise and complete.
A review should cover all the relevant aspects of the paper. This means that a review will typically contain one page of comments and sometimes even much more. Brief qualifications are often not very helpful to the authors. We expect our reviewers to take the time to write down a review that identifies the key issues that need to be dealt with for a review of when the paper is submitted to another journal. Typically, a review is structured in the following way:
- A brief summary of the key argument in the paper;
- A concise presentation of your assessment of the paper;
- An assessment of the quality of the research puzzle, the literature review, the methods, the findings and the conclusions and suggestions for the authors;
- Recommendation for follow-up of the paper.
4. Pay attention to the main points but also the minor ones.
Do not hesitate to present suggestions for headings, for the presentations of tables and figures, etc. These specific suggestions are often important for bringing the paper to a higher level. Also focus on the use of language, the tone and the literature references. These should also be up to standard and in line with IP’s guidelines for publications.