Revised September 2010
Most scholarly journals use peer review to ensure that the articles accepted for publication meet the journal's accepted standards for quality and to prevent the dissemination of unwarranted claims, irrelevant findings, unacceptable interpretations, and personal views. A peer review process may be open (in which the referees and the authors are identified to each other) or conducted in strictest confidentiality. This latter process may be a blind review, in which either the author or referees are unknown to each other, or double-blind review, in which neither party is known to the other. The referee's responsibility is to provide advice on how to improve a manuscript and to help the editor judge and justify the acceptance or rejection of the paper.
The referee must be free of any conflicts of interest that might influence the content or the promptness of the review. When a referee is asked to review a paper and believes him- or herself to be placed in a position of possible conflict of interest, he or she should identify any potential conflicts to the editor so that the editor can determine if these are substantive enough to disqualify the referee.
Referees should submit their reviews within the time frame specified by the editor.
Referees should neither share the manuscripts they review nor the contents of referee correspondence without permission from the editor.
Referees should strive to be fair in their review and to provide meaningful and useful commentary.
Referees should focus comments on whether the manuscript makes a unique or valuable contribution to the literature, matches the scope of the journal, uses a relevant inquiry process and methods of analysis, draws accurate conclusions, and is well-written.
Referees should conduct reviews according to standards of professional courtesy. Constructive criticism is expected and should be provided with civility and professional respect.