Review guidelines

Each research school participating in BREW will receive two papers per participant for review. We will try to distribute the papers such that everyone can get both papers close to their own field, and. We encourage you to discuss the papers with other reviewers from your site.

All the reviews should be in plain text, and should be submitted via EasyChair.

Practically all papers submitted to scientific journals and conferences are peer reviewed, and one of the goals of BREW is to give an introduction to the review process. All participants will have their paper reviewed by two or three other participants, and each participant has to review two or three papers. Unlike normal peer reviews, the reviewer is not going to give any recommendation regarding whether the paper is to be accepted or not (all papers are accepted), but the review report will be sent back to the author of the paper. The reviews are anonymous.

You should put some work into understanding the papers you are reviewing, and try to write a good review report. If you are not familiar with the research field, read some of the literature cited in the paper to get a better idea of what the paper is about. This may require a little effort on your behalf, and it can be a good thing to discuss the papers you are reviewing with the other participants of BREW.

The review report should be about one-two pages of plain text, and should have no formatting. It is not acceptable to say that you don't know anything about the research field, that is not useful for the author or the paper. Instead, point out what is missing in the introduction if it is hard to figure out what the paper is about from the submitted text. The review report should emphasise the comprehensibility and focus of the paper.

Comprehensibility is important throughout the paper, from the introduction to the discussion of the results. Did you understand the major points of the paper? Can you point out specific parts that are unclear, and possible ways to improve these? Are the results presented in a comprehensible and relevant way, and are they compatible with the claims made in the discussion? Does the author discuss his or her findings in relation to relevant methods? Are strengths and weaknesses of the method or field presented, and do you agree with the conclusions? Why or why not? Do you think the author has focused on the correct problem definitions and methods? Does the paper contain information that is not relevant, and can you suggest possible improvements?

It is important to focus on both on what is good with the paper and what is not so good, and not only find what is wrong with it.

Your two reviews should have up to 2 pages and should be structured into 4 sections:

  • Summary: Objective and short description of the study's goals, methods and findings. Describe the study in plain English without being critical yet.
  • General assessment: Critical assessment of the study's strengths and weaknesses. Clearly communicate your opinion of the manuscript.
  • Major comments: Detailed description of major weaknesses of the study that affect its validity. Number your comments.
  • Minor comments: Detailed description of minor weaknesses of the study that would improve the paper's quality if they would be fixed. Number your comments.

There are numerous guides in the internet on how to write a good review report and we will also have a peer review coaching during the BREW workshop in May. A good start for you now is this step-by-step guide: Guide

Important note: The point of the BREW workshop and our peer review process is NOT to find the best manuscripts among your submissions. It is rather to practice your skills in paper and review writing and to provide you with valuable feedback. Therefore: Be nice and constructive to each other. Give the review that you would like to receive yourself. Don't restrict yourself to criticism but also mention strengths of the manuscript you evaluate. And remember that our review process is not anonymous but that every author will get to know his/her reviewers at the workshop in May.