Understand the different stages in the scholarly publishing process, including:

  • writing and formatting in the preferred style of the publisher or journal
  • understanding author responsibilities
  • submitting your article and what happens in editorial review
  • peer review and peer review training opportunities
  • avoiding unethical publishers.

5. Peer review

Peer review is the process by which manuscripts that are submitted to a journal are assessed and evaluated for their quality, value and credibility. Scholarly journals use peer review to protect and maintain the quality of material they publish.The process of review means that the articles in scholarly journals are generally of a higher quality than those published in other types of publications.

Journal editors select subject experts to review and evaluate submitted manuscripts before accepting (or rejecting) them for publication. Authors are required to respond to feedback provided by peer reviewers and manuscripts must pass the peer review process in order to be published.

The Conversation explainer: What is peer review? outlines the steps involved in peer review and some of the advantages and disadvantages of the process. 

See Strategic scholarly publishing for how to check the type of peer review undertaken by the journals you are considering.

Peer review training

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The Publons Academy

Provides an opportunity for Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students and early career researchers to take a free online peer review training course, working with world-renowned researchers, experienced peer-reviewers, professional journal editors and Nobel Laureates.

The ten modules of the course will teach you core competencies and skills of effective peer review. You will practice real writing of post-publication peer review under supervision. On completion of the course, you will be part of a pool of potential peer reviewers that editors look to when expanding their peer review teams.

You will be asked to nominate a supervisor when you register and while this is not mandatory it will be required for your completion and graduation from the Academy. If you need help finding a supervisor contact Publons - academy@publons.com - for help.

How to enrol?
  1. Go to the Publons Academy
  2. Sign up for the course with your ORCID iD

Contact the Manager, Library Scholarly Publishing team for more information about Publons or the Academy.

Responding to peer review feedback

Reviewers usually propose one of the following:

  • acceptance of a manuscript or a proposal
  • acceptance on condition that the author improves it in certain ways
  • rejection, but also encouragement to revise the manuscript and resubmit it
  • outright rejection.

The comments made by peer reviewers are not requirements, but suggestions. You need to decide which points you want to act upon. However, each suggestion should be acknowledged and justification provided for their acceptance or rejection.

In this video, Professor Tamara Davis, from The University of Queensland School of Mathematics and Physics, discusses the importance of structuring a clear argument that demonstrates the significance of your research when participating in the process of peer review.

Scholarly Publishing Series: Peer Review Experiences - Dr. Tamara Davis (YouTube, 2m46s)

Research datasets and peer review

If your publisher requires peer review of your research datasets, you can deposit your datasets in UQ eSpace.

Contact data@library.uq.edu.au if you have questions about confidentiality or embargo periods.