Before publication, editors forward articles to peer reviewers who are experts in the subject area for rigorous scrutiny and evaluation. The peer reviewers go through the articles to establish if the idea presented in the article is unique, contributes to the enrichment of a given field, identifies errors and weaknesses of the article, and research methods used. If satisfied, reviewers may recommend publication of the article but if unsatisfied they recommend revision or rewriting of the article. The peer-reviewing process is, however, a cycle and, therefore, there is need for a distinction between a peer reviewer and an editor as key players of the process.
The peer review cycle contains many elements from coming up with a fresh research idea to final publication. However, there are most important points that have been identified in this cycle. The first important point is the idea of the research. This is the new and unique idea that is in the mind of the writer for which he/she decides to commit himself/herself to research. The second point is literature review which is a study of the previous works that have been done on the topic. The literature review is important because it gives the reader an overview and understanding of the topic that the writer will be researching on. Another important element of the cycle is the research itself which entails actual data and facts about the topic. After the actual research, the data is interpreted. The interpretation of data is done through the gathering of the data, and scientifically analyzing and interpreting it. The author may proceed to write a manuscript after interpreting the data, the script contains the writers findings and it often includes feedback and input from the conferences. Manuscript writing is basically the preparation of the researchers findings for publication. After writing the paper, the writer forwards his work to the editor for publication. If the editor is satisfied with the works of the author, he/she passes it on to peer reviewers who are experts on the topic to review it and if satisfied, they recommend for the article to be published. After the recommendation from the peer reviewers, the article is published by journal publishers and made available for consumption by readers.
An editor and a peer reviewer are often mistaken to be one and the same person, which is not the case. For instance, an editor is more concerned with the content of the article and the creativity of the author. The editor also seeks to find whether information brought upon by the writer is clear and precise and that his or her findings are a contribution to knowledge in the field. On the other hand, the peer reviewer is concerned with the uniqueness of the research and if the methodology used in analyzing and interpreting data is sound and scientifically acceptable. The reviewer also seeks to find out if the authors conclusions are backed up by evidence and verify that the findings in the article are a contribution to the field of study. Another aspect where an editor is distinct from a peer reviewer is familiarity with the writer and vice versa. An editor works with the writer throughout to completion of the work and is, therefore, known to the writer. Likewise, the editor knows the manuscript writer. On the contrary, a peer reviewer does not know the writers of the manuscript and is also unknown to the manuscript writers. Editors are also distinct from peer reviewers in the aspect of deciding what to publish. An editor is the ultimate decision maker of what will and will not be published whereas a peer reviewer only recommends the publication of an article.
In most scenarios, journals reject a high number of articles than they accept with a rejection rate of about 90%. Before articles are published, they are peer-reviewed by experts in that field where errors and weakness are spotted, and the uniqueness of the article is substantiated. The process of peer reviewing is also essential because it establishes the validity of the research method used. Therefore, since the article; Dictating to the schools: A look at the effect of the Bush and Obama administrations on schools has been published in the Journal of Education Digest, it has been reviewed and recommended for publication by peer reviewers.
Peer reviewed articles can be found in scholarly databases such as ScienceDirect, PsycARTICLES, Web of Science and SAGE journals online. Some databases do contain other articles that are not peer-reviewed which requires one to select Peer Reviewed or Refereed so that the search tool in such websites can limit only peer reviewed searches and remove other unwanted materials. It is necessary to check the Ulrichsweb library database to establish if the journal is peer-reviewed (University of South Australia, 2014).It is important to note that it is difficult to determine whether an article is a peer-reviewed in databases. Its also helpful to go through additional pages of the journal article physically to examine if the article has been reviewed or revised. It could be stated in the journal that the article has been reviewed or there could be other details like instructions to authors to submit their article for peer review.
Peer Reviewed Journals: The Creation of New Knowledge (PowerPoint Slides). Retrieved from:http://library.devry.edu/pdfs/Peer_Review_PPT.pdfUniversity of South Australia. (2014). find peer reviewed journal articles (00121B).
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