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Peer – Reviewing! Give your profile an edge

Posted by srinwantudey on March 28, 2009

As we all know, publications are the foremost components of concern for the Graduate Office. If you have bagged one or two of them, forget about your poor GRE score or wretched undergraduate CGPA. It shows your ability to research, potential of inquisitive mind and enough enthusiasm to contribute in research fields. I have already discussed how to get some publication under your belt. Though it consists of a shadow outline but if you follow the course, success will not be far beyond. But, the dry reality is that, getting yourself published is a damn hard task.

Simply, I need to answer why to grab a publication is hard enough job. The first and foremost reason behind that is most of us do not possess proper writing skills which are adequate enough to be selected by an international journal. Remember, paper manuscripts are not a place to be decorated by ramp of pompous words. Your degree of perspective, explanatory power and in-depth analysis are the foremost concerns for the editors. Secondly, you need to have a good reputation to get published. By good reputation, I mean to say if you possess any prior publication or any contribution to that journal or any research experience under well known professor. Of course, an extra ordinary research paper need not strictly follow the aforesaid convention.

If you dream to crack the top spot schools, you must have start boosting your profile from your undergraduate days. And here you can find Peer Reviewing is a good alternative or option to grow your career. Trust me it really carries much weight if your curriculum vitae shows you are a Peer reviewer of an esteemed international journal. You might ask about the benefits you can get being a peer reviewer. Of course, you will be benefited a lot. Peer reviewing is a must for every research scholar. As I discussed already, among the Indian students, most of them lacks proper scientific writing skills (do not take it harshly if you are not fallen in this category). Thus, getting published is so hard for us. If you really want to improve your writing skills, get involved in peer reviewing is a master stroke.

Peer reviewing allows you to seat in a virtual chair of the Editor. You can learn, a standard journal seeks which qualities within a submitted paper. Literally, you will slowly learn all the methods to answer common questions by the advisory board while evaluating a research manuscript. Along with this, being a peer reviewer you will be able to review several papers submitted by different scholars or students. This is the best chance to learn the skills of writing by reading other’s papers. You should have acquired the skills of analysis of a subject from different perspective. You will learn how to organize a paper or continue a research work and blah blah blah. You will be beneficiary in more than one dimension. The rest work lies to incorporate the acquired knowledge in your research and preparing manuscript to produce a quality research paper. Peer-reviewing is a perfect path towards a better writer because it provides experience in looking critically at writing.

The journals which encourage peer reviewing often called as Scholarly journal and the peer reviewers often called as referees. Please follow the flow diagram furnished below to know how a peer reviewed journal works.


                To become a peer reviewer you must have follow some rules. As I have not sufficient experience to give you sound concept about peer review, I have furnished below excerpts from Have a look on the following.


When you peer-review other people’s writing, remember above all that you should consider all aspects of that writing, not just—in fact, least of all—the grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If you are new to peer-reviewing, you may forget to review the draft for certain aspects:

Make sure that your review is comprehensive. Consider all aspects of the draft you’re reviewing, not just the grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Read the draft several times, looking for a complete range of potential problem areas:

1.       Interest level, adaptation to audience

2.       Persuasiveness, purpose

3.       Content, organization

4.       Clarity of discussion

5.       Coherence, use transition

6.       Title, introduction, and conclusion.

7.       Sentence style and clarity

8.       Handling of graphics

Be careful about making comments or criticisms that are based on your own personal style. Base your criticisms and suggestions for improvements on generally accepted guidelines, concepts, and rules. If you do make a comment that is really your own preference, explain it. Explain the problems you find fully. Don’t just say a paper “seems disorganized.” Explain what is disorganized about it. Use specific details from the draft to demonstrate your case. Whenever you criticize something in the writer’s draft, try to suggest some way to correct the problem. It’s not enough to tell the writer that her paper seems disorganized, for example. Explain how that problem could be solved.

Base your comments and criticisms on accepted guidelines, concepts, principles, and rules. It’s not enough to tell a writer that two paragraphs ought to be switched, for example. State the reason why: more general, introductory information should come first, for example, avoid rewriting the draft that you are reviewing. In your efforts to suggest improvements and corrections, don’t go overboard and rewrite the draft yourself. Doing so steals from the original writer the opportunity to learn and improve as a writer. Find positive, encouraging things to say about the draft you’re reviewing. Compliments, even small ones, are usually wildly appreciated. Read through the draft at least once looking for things that were done well, and then let the writer know about them.

 Back to me! It would be great if you find a peer review spot in your undergraduate career. But who have completed those days, need not panic. The whole Masters career is left for you. I would like to advise you to ask your mentor or professors to involve you in the process. There are several student run journals where, peer reviewing is highly appreciated. You should contact the chief editors for opportunities. Trust me, you will get one. Please check the link to get list of peer reviwed journal of different field.

Wishing you a very best of luck.



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