Good and bad reviews


Reviewers play a central role in scholarly publishing. Review helps validate research, establish a method by which it can be evaluated, and increase networking possibilities within research communities. Despite criticisms, peer review is still the only widely accepted method for research validation. Reviewing requires the investment of time and a certain skillset. Before you decide if you want to become a reviewer, we recommend that you read more about the review process and conducting a review.

Reviewers evaluate article submissions to journals, based on the requirements of that journal, predefined criteria, and quality, completeness and accuracy of the research presented. They provide feedback on the article and the research, suggest improvements and make a recommendation to the editor about whether to accept, reject or request changes to the article. Reviewing is a time-intensive process – writing a review report can be almost as much work as writing a manuscript! – but it is very worthwhile for the reviewer as well as for the community.


  • Ensure the rigorous standards of the scientific process by taking part in the peer-review system.
  • Uphold the integrity of the journal by identifying invalid research, and helping to maintain the quality of the journal.
  • Fulfill a sense of obligation to the community and their own area of research.
  • Establish relationships with reputable colleagues and their affiliated journals, and increase their opportunities to join an Editorial Board.
  • Reciprocate professional courtesy, as authors and reviewers are often interchangeable roles – as reviewer, researchers ‘repay’ the same courtesy they receive as authors.

There are great benefits to becoming a reviewer. You can:

  • Establish your expertise in the field and expand your knowledge.
  • Improve your reputation and increase your exposure to key figures in the field.
  • Stay up to date with the latest literature, and have advanced access to research results.
  • Develop critical thinking skills essential to research.
  • Advance in your career – peer review is an essential role for researchers.

To get high quality review, you need to know what qualities go into making a good reviewer. Some of these include:

  • Timeliness and responsiveness
  • Verifiable expertise, usually scientists who have recently published papers on related subjects
  • Confidentiality is an essential part of the undertaking in reviewing scientific papers
  • Expertise in the chosen field
  • Unbiased in assessment (objective and fair)
  • A critical mind and keeping up to date with current advances in the field of interest
  • A good communicator, flair for language and grammar is a plus
  • A sound scientific background and a good understanding of research methodology
  • Supportive of authors and editors

Good reviews

  • Discloses any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Explains the reviewer’s view of his or her intended role or expertise, e.g. topic expert, methodologist, practitioner.
  • Is respectful.
  • Offers specific constructive comments.
  • Is appropriate in length.
  • Helps editors with the decision on acceptance.
  • Comments on how the report fits in the state of current knowledge on the topic.
  • Comments on the importance, impact or action related to the study.
  • Comments on the appropriateness of the paper for this journal.
  • Offers rationales for reviewer recommendations.
  • Supports comments with references, when possible.
  • Makes helpful suggestions on the general organization, format and display of data.
  • Points out areas that are unclear in text, tables or figures.

A review has three sections of comments:

1. Comments to the author, organized in two parts:

A. General overview of the paper and what it contributes to current knowledge

B. Specific comments and recommendations (by section, page and paragraph)

2. Confidential comments to the editor, including recommendation about acceptance and revision.

Bad Reviews

  • Makes disrespectful comments.
  • Makes criticisms without offering constructive suggestions.
  • Makes recommendations without offering any rationale.
  • Is way too short or way too long
  • Dives into copy editing detail.
  • Demonstrates bias or a specific agenda.
  • Does not offer any opinion on acceptance or revision.

So, being a good reviewed, please, keeps in mind the good and bad review criteria.