How Peer Reviews for Scientific Journals and Conference Papers Work

In case you ever wondered, how peer reviews are usually done in context of academia,  scientific journals and conferences, there are some short but informative posts by Peter Casserly (and others) on Ex Ordo for Academics explaining how it works.

Ruffly, there are single-blind peer reviews (which are still most common), where the author is known to the reviewer but the reviewer stays anonymous, double-blind peer reviews, where both the author and the reviewer remain anonymous and open peer reviews, where everything is kept transparent. In the posts the basic workflows are explained and research studies are citied to elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages of each process.

In my personal opinion, double-blind peer reviews are most suitable within a scientific context. Although there are large benefits in having full transparency, it might add bias and peer pressure to the process and reviewers might feel the need to work more on their personal profile and alignment of their then public commentary than the actual scientific research in review.

Although it is rather hard to make double-blind reviews truly anonymous, since authors can often be inferred from the content of the article, I consider this the best way to go.

Submission and Rejection

For anyone interested in submitting a paper to a journal for review, it might be important to know, that it will probably be rejected and might take some additional work to be saved (or published for that matter). If you might feel that this can be hard to bare, I can recommend getting used to rejections to better cope with the process in the future by submitting your paper to The Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR):

“The founding principle of the Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR) is rejection. Universal rejection. That is to say, all submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected.”

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