Lesson 2, Topic 1
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What is peer review?

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Once a journal editor has received your manuscript, they can decide either to reject it or to send it to established scientists in the same field for their opinion on whether your work is suitable for publication. These independent experts will provide free feedback to help authors improve their work. Their feedback also enables editors to know whether or not the manuscript is suitable for publication in the journal. 

The peer reviewers will examine the manuscript carefully for the following points:

  • Was the hypothesis worth pursuing? 
  • Were the experiments well designed with suitable statistical analysis? 
  • Are the methods appropriate to the study? 
  • Is the study ethically sound? 
  • Is sufficient information provided to allow the study to be replicated? 
  • Are the results presented clearly and in suitable formats? 
  • Are the conclusions backed up by sufficient data and any alternatives considered?
  • Are the cited references recent and balanced? 
  • Are the study findings significant and novel enough to warrant publication?

It may be stressful, particularly the first time you submit your manuscript. But you should view peer review as a positive process. It is a way of improving your article before it is read by the scientific community. Comments and criticisms from experts in the field ensure that the research has been verified and is significant and original. They also enhance your manuscript’s readability and help maintain the high standards and reputations of journals.