Become a Reviewer

How to become a reviewer?

Are you an expert in research, policies and practice? Are you a doctoral student majoring in Education? Would you like to become a reviewer for Higher Learning Research Communications?

The HLRC journal is constantly looking for new peer reviewers. If you would like to volunteer, you may contact the Editor-in-Chief (hlrceditor@laureate.net) and offer your reviewing services.

If you have never conducted a review but would like to volunteer to refine your research skills, gain reputation in your field, or advance your career as a scholar, we offer training and support for new reviewers.

What is peer review?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines peer review as “a process by which a scholarly work is checked by a group of experts in the same field to make sure it meets the necessary standards before it is published or accepted.” In other words, peer review is the academic equivalent of quality assurance.

Types of peer review

There are several ways to conduct peer reviews. The most common is a blind review:

  • Single blind: The names of the reviewers are hidden from the author(s).
  • Double blind: Both the reviewers and authors are anonymous.

The HLRC journal employs the double blind review method. Other, more recent review methods may include:

  • Open: Reviewers and authors are known to each other.
  • Collaborative: Reviewers examine the manuscript as a group, not individually. This review may be single blind, double blind, or open.
  • Post-publication: Manuscript is published as submitted so that others may review it openly. Reviews may be conducted by formally invited reviewers or volunteer reviewers.

Why become a reviewer?

When it comes to academic publishing, peer reviewers play a major role. They guard the scientific process, assure the integrity of academic journals, assess and validate the quality of research, and prevent the dissemination of irrelevant or inaccurate information.

By becoming a peer reviewer, you improve your research skills, keep up to date with the latest research trends, gain reputation as an expert in your field, and advance your career as a researcher and scholar.

How to conduct a review?

Most journals have a form reviewers may use to complete the peer review report, which involves evaluating a manuscript based on criteria such as contribution to existing knowledge, conceptual/theoretical framework and consistency with current literature, and significance to the field. The HLRC journal offers reviewers the flexibility to conduct blind reviews by either using an online form or the track changes feature in MS Word.

When it comes to writing the peer review report, begin with a brief summary of key findings of the study in order to let the author(s) know you have paid attention to their work. You must then review each section carefully and provide meaningful feedback in complete sentences. When writing the report, peer reviewers need to stay factual, objective, and help the author(s) understand where they can enhance the manuscript to provide sufficient detail.

Other considerations

It is important to remember that academic publishing is time sensitive, since editors want to get the latest findings out quickly. With that said, inform editors immediately if you can or cannot undertake a review or complete it on time.

It is also essential for reviewers to understand the importance of their role as gatekeepers of the academic world. As such, reviewers should provide authors timely, unbiased feedback on the merits and scientific value of the manuscript, as well as maintain the confidentiality of the process. Reviewers should also notify editors in a timely manner if they are able to review the manuscript or not, if the review cannot be completed on time, as well as alert about any potential conflicts of interest (and decline to review in such cases). As a peer reviewer, observing the basic principles of academic integrity is of utmost importance.