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Biology Information Literacy Part I: Resources & the Library: Peer Review

Peer Review Process

peer review cartoon

Peer-review process.  By Nick D. Kim. Science and Ink.

Is it Peer-Reviewed? How to Tell

Often the article will be in this format:

  • Authors (with university affiliation)
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References/Bibliography

The Process of "Peer Review"

Peer-reviewed/Scholarly journals have specific policies describing their peer-review process.  A good place to look for this is under the journal's Instructions for Authors. In general, the process includes:

  1. Editors receive submitted paper and decide whether the article will appeal to their readers.
  2. Editor sends manuscript to two or three reviewers who can respond knowledgeably to the research described. Reviewers' names are generally withheld from the authors and sometimes the authors' names are withheld from the reviewers.
  3. Reviewers return manuscripts to editor, who reviews the comments.
  4. Editor returns reviewed manuscript to author for changes if changes are suggested by reviewers.
  5. Authors return edited manuscript to editor.
  6. Editor accepts the revised article.
  7. Authors complete and submit copyright/licensing agreement.
  8. Manuscript is typeset for publication.

(example of Peer-Review guidelines: PLOS Biology Editorial and Peer Review Process)

Example of a Peer Reviewed Scholarly Article

PLoSOne article