Medieval Rus′

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Referee guidelines


Referee reports should indicate whether the work is suitable for publication in the journal or not. Possible responses may include:

You should return a marked-up copy of the submission to the author along with the report. As noted above, you don’t have to mark every typographical error, but it is often easier to offer comments in the margins of the text itself than in prose in a separate document.

In a well-run journal, referee reports are advisory, which is to say that publication decisions are made by the editor after considering the reports, rather than by merely deferring to the judgment of the referees. If, however, the editor has chosen persons with adequate subject-area expertise and professional responsibility, it would be unusual for that editor then to overrule a unanimous referee recommendation.

Referees should ensure that their comments are professionally respectful, even when they conclude that an article cannot be salvaged. One way to look at negative comments is that the author may or may not agree with the referee’s criticism. If the author agrees, the referee has helped the author improve the article. An author who disagrees with a referee might constructively recognize an opportunity to rewrite the content under contention to make the arguments more persuasive. When a referee misunderstands what the author wrote, it’s possible that the referee was not reading carefully, but it’s no less possible that the author did not present the content effectively.

Guidelines from the Russian review

We have no strict guidelines for referee reports: we’ve found over the years that it is best to let referees say whatever they think needs to be brought to our attention. That said, a report is most helpful when it contains certain things: a summary of the article (as the referee sees it, since often two referees gain different impressions about the true subject of a submission); the major conclusions or points being argued; the contribution, if any, to the field made by the article; the strengths and weaknesses of the piece; suggestions for improving the piece, if such is necessary; and, finally, a recommendation as to whether the piece should be rejected outright (as unsalvageable), rejected but with encouragement that the author revise and resubmit the piece, or accepted (with or without revision).

Guidelines from the Slavic and East European journal (SEEJ)

Please evaluate the essay as a scholarly article addressed to a professional audience primarily of Slavists (e.g., summarizing content of well-known works will not be needed, but of little-known works may be helpful). We ask readers to comment on the solidity of the scholarship, completeness of presentation, clarity of writing, and originality of the contribution to knowledge (new insight on the subject or a new theoretical approach). We look for a clear thesis statement and for content that is well documented and that reflects both command of relevant primary sources in original languages and knowledge of the current state of research in appropriate areas.

We have no specified length or degree of detail for evaluations: we would like at least a few paragraphs, perhaps a couple of pages if warranted. Most readers provide general comments on particular strengths of the essay and the originality (or lack thereof) of its analysis and conclusions within its own field, and offer suggestions for emendations, clarifications, or revisions. Some readers include specific comments keyed to a particular line or paragraph of the submission. Occasional extremely committed readers will send in many pages with every typographical error noted; we appreciate their dedication, but that amount of detail is really not necessary, though it is no doubt helpful to the submitter.

Your comments will be forwarded (anonymously) to the author along with the editor’s decision, and our submitters are always most appreciative of helpful criticism.