As a reviewer for History in the Making, you are participating in a peer review process to determine which articles make it through to publication and to provide feedback on the unsuccessful articles. This feedback can be used by the authors to improve their future history writing.
When an article is reviewed, we ask two reviewers to read and assess the article. All papers will be read by someone further along in their studies, i.e. third year students will read first and second year submissions, postgraduate students will review submissions by honours students. Where possible, we will endeavour to match submissions to areas of reviewer’s expertise. This makes it important that you’ve been specifc and honest about your interests in your reviewer application.
To complete the review, you will fill out a checklist-style review form, choosing the closest given option to your opinion on the article and making comments. Criteria we ask you to assess include writing style and expression, the argument, use of primary sources, engagement with academic debate and originality. The opinions of the three reviewers are used to decide whether the work is suitable to be published.
The rest of this page provides more detailed information on this process. If you would prefer it in a different form to read, please download our guide for reviewers which contains all the information here and in the Reviewer F.A.Q., as well as specific information on using the OJS system to complete the reviewer reports.
What is Peer Review?
Peer review (or refereeing) is a critical part of the academic publishing process. The purpose of peer review is to determine whether articles are suitable for publication in a scholarly journal. The process ensures that articles are of a high standard and are of interest to the wider academic community.
Role of Reviewers
Reviewers are involved in the first stage of reviewing for History in the Making. The content of their reports determines whether submissions are passed on for further consideration by the editors. Further, the scores and comments provided by reviewers help the editors to identify strengths and weaknesses within each submission. The purpose of this process is to manage a high volume of submissions efficiently and ensure all students who submit to the journal receive some feedback on their work.
Selection of Reviewers
Reviewers will be selected for the History in the Making journal through two methods:
- Students who have previously contributed to the journal will be invited to become reviewers.
- Students who have not previously contributed to the journal can apply to become reviewers.
Ordinarily, applications will only be sought from honours, graduate or postgraduate students. The application form can be downloaded here. Reviewers will be asked to work on subsequent issues so long as they have met the requirements of the review process as established by the journal collective. Key requirements include:
- meeting any deadlines set by the journal collectives
- providing suitable feedback to contributors
- responding in a timely fashion to any queries from the journal collective
After contributing to two or more issues, reviewers may be invited by the journal collective to participate as editors.
Reviewers for History in the Making are required to fill out an online report for each article they read. The reviewer report contains a standard set of criteria against which submissions should be assessed and provides space for reviewers to add personalised comments.
All reviewer reports are returned to contributors, regardless of the submission’s success in passing through to the next round. Thus, reviewers are expected to maintain a level of professionalism and courtesy to the contributor when making their assessment of the submission. This process is intended to be educative, so reviewer reports ought to be framed around improvements that the contributor might make in future essays or articles.
Reviewers are asked to fill out online forms rating each submission according to selected criteria. Some of these criteria are straightforward, where others require substantiation in an attached text box. The seven main criteria within the form are:
- Argument: Does the article have a coherent, persuasive and strong argument?
- Topic and Interest: Is the topic well-chosen and would it appeal to many readers?
- Writing Style and Expression: Is the submission well-written? Are all ideas expressed clearly?
- Originality: Does the submission draw on original research, use existing research in an original way or apply a new interpretive paradigm to an existing topic?
- Engagement with Academic Debate: Does the submission engage in academic debate in a critical manner? Does the author demonstrate how their work contributes to or advances this debate?
- Use of Primary Sources: Does the submission use historical evidence to support the argument? Is the selection of primary sources clearly justified?
- Referencing and Presentation: Does the article need substantial grammatical revision? Has the contributor used appropriate referencing?
Finally, we will ask reviewers to indicate whether or not they recommend the article for publication.
Number of Reviewers
Each submission is to be reviewed by three reviewers. Wherever possible, articles are matched to reviewers based on the areas of historical interests they have nominated.
Speed of Reviewing
The time period allocated for the reviewing process will be determined by the journal collective and relayed to the reviewer when submissions are distributed. This time period will usually not exceed four weeks.
It is the responsibility of the individual reviewer to inform the journal collective of any problems which might prevent them from completing the review in the designated time.
Reminders will be sent by the journal collective; however, reviewers who do not submit their reports on time will not normally be able to participate in subsequent issues.
In order to ensure each submission is judged on its individual merits, contributors will remain anonymous to reviewers. However, reviewers will be advised whether the work is by an undergraduate, honours or postgraduate student, to enable them to judge the submission by the standards consistent with the contributor’s level of study. Similarly, the names of reviewers will be removed from their reports before they are returned to contributors.
Reviewers should treat submissions confidentially and should not ordinarily consult friends or colleagues for help with the referee report. If reviewers require assistance in assessing a submission, they should contact the journal collective.