Peer review – University of Copenhagen

Peer review

A big part of the academic experience is peer review and what the consequences that has for you and your career … I got two anonymous reviews from …a prestigious journal that I submitted [the ms] to—and both of those reviews were mostly positive and they did recommend it for publication. [But] they did have some issues and you really felt the subjective nature of it … when it comes to peer review, you can be very pleased with your own work …but if the people reading are expecting something different, then they are not going to be happy with it. (Barbara)

Having had more detailed experience with the whole peer review process …I just feel it is not …as good as it could be …I’m an assessment person and of course the peer review process …is assessment …and one of the important things about assessment is fairness …and I’m just not sure how clear it is …the whole idea that you get one reviewer—one reviewer asks for changes that may very well be valid …and then it doesn’t go back to that person, right, it goes on to somebody completely different who has a completely different viewpoint and it is just—it is really a never ending story …or it could be. And, the other thing …[some] people take it very seriously and take great care in commenting, etc., when others …they don’t feel accountable that it is actually a person’s reading of [the text] …it is just quite insulting ...the process is not just as good as it should be …from a pure assessment perspective. (Nancy)

Nancy and Barbara, both early career researchers, pinpoint the importance, the emotional power and the potential lack of fairness of peer review. We all experience receiving written feedback on our research and many of us write reviews. What does the research tell us about peer review that can make us better reviewers and better users of reviewer feedback?

Your task

Before September 15 2018, please

  1. Choose three articles and read them through.
  2. For each article, write a brief response using this structure:
Your name: Your responses
Author and article number
The most interesting thing I learned
Questions it raised in my mind
At least two ideas it generated about my own research and practice

3. After registration you will be invited to join a platform for the pre-conference workshop preparation.

Before the meeting

  1. Read through others’ responses.
  2. Compare with your own.


1. Bornmann, L., & Daniel, H. (2010). Reliability of reviewers' ratings when using public peer review: a case study. Learned Publishing, 23(2), 124-131.

2. Englander, K., & López-Bonilla, G. (2011). Acknowledging or denying membership: Reviewers’ responses to non-anglophone scientists’ manuscripts. Discourse Studies, 13(4), 395-416.

3. Fontanet, I. (2008). Evaluative language in peer review referee reports. Journal of English for academic purposes, 7(1), 27-37.

4. Gosden, H. (2003). ‘Why not give us the full story?’: functions of referees’ comments in peer reviews of scientific research papers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2(2), 87-101.

5. Kamler, B. (2010). Revise and resubmit. Publishing Pedagogies for the Doctorate and Beyond, 64.

6. Matsuda, P.K., y Tardy, C.M. (2007). Voice in academic writing: The rhetorical construction of author identity in blind manuscript review. English for Specific Purposes, 26 , 235-249.

7. Paltridge, B. (2013). Learning to review submissions to peer reviewed journals: how do they do it?. International Journal for Researcher Development, 4(1), 6-18.

8. Paltridge, B. (2015). Referees' comments on submissions to peer-reviewed journals: when is a suggestion not a suggestion? Studies in Higher Education, 40(1), 106-122.

9. Samraj, Betty. "Discourse structure and variation in manuscript reviews: Implications for genre categorization." English for Specific Purposes 42 (2016): 76-88.

10. Sánchez, E., García, J. N., & del Río, P. (2002). Writing as rewriting: A content analysis of peer reviews of non-accepted papers submitted to Infancia y Aprendizaje. Infancia y Aprendizaje, 25(1), 5-35. doi:10.