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How to be a better reviewer

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How to be a better reviewer

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How to be a better reviewer

  1. 1. How to be a better reviewer Mary B. Curtis University of North Texas
  2. 2. Mechanics of the review process • You will be contacted by an editor about reviewing a paper and given a deadline. – You are typically told the title and provided an abstract. You are never told the author’s name and it is unethical to seek to learn the author’s name. – A good way to begin your career as a reviewer is by volunteering to review for conferences. • You review the paper and turn in your review – typically within a month to six weeks. All AAA reviews are facilitated by the online system AllenTrack. – To volunteer, go to AllenTrack and register. You will provide key words that editors will use to select you. • Your recommendation will be: accept (never on first round), minor revision, major revision, reject • You will generally learn of the editor’s decision to the author and often receive the other reviewer’s comments, as well.
  3. 3. Characteristics of a good review • The reviewer has two audiences: the author and the editor. (Richard Sansing) – For the author, you are trying to help this person get this paper published – if not here, then somewhere – For the editor, you are trying to help them decide whether to go forward with the paper 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. A helpful review is one that is constructive rather than destructive. Try to clearly communicate what the issue is, why it is a problem, and what can be done about it. An important aspect of the review process is the communication of review points in a manner that is both clear and concise. Do not communicate your recommendation directly to the authors. It is the editor's role to make the decision and communicate that decision to the authors. Be tactful and kind!
  4. 4. Structure of a good review • The review report should be typed, 12-point type, line spacing maybe 1.15. • Summarize the manuscript in 1 or 2 sentences. • Find something to complement the authors on. • Then begin with major issues – this section should not be more than a page, two at max. • Then cover two to three pages of questions and less important concerns. (Lil Mills) • Should you speak in third person (The authors state …) or first person (You state that …) JATA group said first person
  5. 5. Characteristics of a bad review • Rejecting a paper because you are not interested in it Review the paper, not whether the idea is to your taste; Do not try to turn the paper into something you are more interested in – you are not the author (Bob Yetman) • Reviewer identifies a way to address a concern, then is not satisfied when the results are unexpected (Anne Magro) • Similarly, it is frustrating when a reviewer simply does not believe your theory, but can offer no alternative explanation for your results (Anne Magro)
  6. 6. Characteristics of a good reviewer • • Read quickly through the paper right away, before accepting the assignment, to make sure you are knowledgeable enough to complete it and that double-blind anonymity hasn’t been broken (you don’t know who the author is). Also make sure that everything you need (instrument, response document, etc.) has been submitted How to read the paper: – Multiple times, in layers: One approach is for the first read to focus primarily on the theory and logic of the arguments; Read next time, focusing on adequacy of experimental design and analysis. – Multiple times, in layers: Another approach is to start by looking at the tables and try to infer what hypotheses are being tested; then go back and read the manuscript from the beginning – this way can assess whether the front and back ends of the paper match (Anne Magro) – Set aside enough time to read the paper in depth and to provide a full set of comments in one sitting. If you do your review over a period of time, your comments will likely appear incoherent, unsympathetic, and self-contradictory (Holbrook 1986) • • Don’t forget to compare theory and design to the instrument the author turned in. Construct your comments – after you brainstorm the major issues, go back and organize the review comments around the major issues.
  7. 7. Please …. • don’t tell a behavioral researcher to re-run their experiment. Help them fix the one they have. • do consider whether the sample is appropriate, not whether it is experienced – generalizability comes from the theory, not the subjects (Libby et al. 2002; Peecher and Solomon 2001). • do tell the editor if you suspect any untoward problems with the manuscript – published elsewhere, presented elsewhere (if for conference review), etc.
  8. 8. Sources this material and for more reading • Campion, Michael A. 1993. Article review checklist: A criterion checklist for reviewing research article. Personnel Psychology 46 (3): 705-718. • Feldman, D. C. 2003. Sense and Sensibility: Balancing the Interests of Authors, Reviewers, and Editors. Journal of Management 29(1): 1-4. • Libby, R., R. Bloomfield, and M. Nelson. 2002. Experimental Research in Financial Accounting. Accounting, Organizations, and Society (27): 775-810. • Omer, T. C., S. L. Porter, R. J. Yetman, A. M. Magro, L. F. Mills, R. C. Sansing, and B. C. Ayers. 2004. A Discussion with Reviewers: Insights from the Midyear ATA Meetings. JATA 26 (supplement): 135-141. • Peecher, M. E. and I. Solomon. 2001. Theory and Experimentation in studies of audit judgments and decisions: Avoiding common research traps. International Journal of Auditing 5: 193-203.

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