Guide for Reviewers

Purpose of Peer Review

The editors and publisher appreciate all the determined efforts and expertise that volunteer reviewers contribute to the evaluation process, otherwise it would be impossible to keep the journal growing.

Peer review is a vital element of high-quality publication, and it has come to the fore in the scientific process.

 Peer Review includes two prime functions:

  • Acts as a barrier:  Ensures research is scientifically qualified before being published
  • Enhance the quality of the research: Comprehensive review by other experts helps to scientifically evaluate submissions and correct inadvertent errors 


Reviewing process

It is worthwhile to mention that the editor may not be aware of your specialty intimately, and may only be knowledgeable about your work in a broader context. Only accept an invitation if you are competent to review the article. 

There are some key factors to be considered:

  • Reviewing an article might be a time-consuming procedure and the time taken to review can be varied according to the article type. Therefore, the editors should be informed immediately if you cannot conduct the review.
  • A conflict of interest will not necessarily lead to elimination of you from reviewing a manuscript. However, the editor is capable of making an informed decision according the situation. For example; if you have collaborated with the authors or you are related to the article financially or professionally. These should be mentioned when accepting the editor’s invitation for review. 


Conducting the Review 

Reviewing of articles should be conducted confidentially, i.e., the article you have been invited to review should not be revealed to a third party. However, if you wish to elicit an opinion from colleagues or students regarding the manuscript, you should inform the editor in advance. Editors welcome additional comments, but whoever else is involved will also need to keep the review process confidential. Although journal practices vary, most journals do not share the identity of the reviewer with the author. To help us protect your identity, please do not reveal your name within the text of your review.

You should not attempt to contact the author. Be aware when you submit your review that any recommendations you make will contribute to the final decision made by the editor.

Reviewers would be expected to evaluate submissions according to the following: 


Is the article sufficiently novel and interesting to warrant publication? Does it add to the canon of knowledge? Does the article adhere to the journal's standards? Is the research question an important one? In order to determine its originality and appropriateness for the journal, it might be helpful to think of the research in terms of what percentile it is in? Is it in the top 25% of papers in this field (resource recovery and related subjects)? You might wish to do a quick literature search using tools such as Scopus to see if there are any reviews of the area. If the research has been covered previously, pass on references of those works to the editor. 


Is the article clearly laid out? Are all the key elements (where relevant) present: abstract, introduction, experimental, results and discussion, and conclusions? Consider each element in turn:

  • Title: Does it clearly describe the article?
  • Abstract: Does it reflect the content of the article?
  • Please check the graphical abstract and highlights to make suggestions for improvements.
  • Introduction: Does it describe what the author hoped to achieve accurately, and clearly state the problem being investigated? Normally, the introduction should summarize relevant research to provide context, and explain what other authors' findings, if any, are being challenged or extended. It should describe the experiment, the hypothesis(es) and the general experimental design or method.
  • Experimental: Does the author accurately explain how the data was collected? Is the design suitable for answering the question posed? Is there sufficient information present for you to replicate the research? Does the article identify the procedures followed? Are these ordered in a meaningful way? If the methods are new, are they explained in detail? Was the sampling appropriate? Have the equipment and materials been adequately described? Does the article make it clear what type of data was recorded; has the author been precise in describing measurements?
  • Results and discussion: This is where the author(s) should explain in words what she/he/they discovered in the research. It should be clearly laid out and in a logical sequence. You will need to consider if the appropriate analysis has been conducted. Are the statistics correct? If you are not comfortable with statistics, please advise the editor when you submit your report. Interpretation of results should not be included in this section.
  • Conclusion: Are the claims in this section supported by the results, do they seem reasonable? Have the authors indicated how the results relate to expectations and to earlier research? Does the article support or contradict previous theories? Does the conclusion explain how the research has moved the body of scientific knowledge forward?
  • Language: If an article is poorly written due to grammatical errors, while it may make it more difficult to understand the science, you do not need to correct the English. You should bring this to the attention of the editor, however.
  • Finally, do the figures and tables inform the reader, are they an important part of the story? Do the figures describe the data accurately? Are they consistent, e.g., bars in charts are the same width, the scales on the axis are logical.

Previous Research

If the article builds upon previous research, does it reference that work appropriately? Are there any important works that have been omitted? Are the references accurate?

Ethical Issues

  • Plagiarism: If you suspect that an article is a substantial copy of another work, please let the editor know, immediately, citing the previous work in as much detail as possible
  • Fraud: It is very difficult to detect the determined fraudster, but if you suspect the results in an article to be untrue, discuss it with the editor


Communicating Your Report to the Editor

Once you have completed your evaluation of the article the next step is to write up your report. As a courtesy, let the editor know if it looks like you might miss your deadline.

It would be helpful to provide a quick summary of the article at the beginning of your report. This serves the dual purpose of reminding the editor of the details of the report and also reassuring the author and editor that you have understood the article.

The report should contain the key elements of your review, addressing the points outlined in the preceding section. Commentary should be courteous and constructive, and should not include any personal remarks or personal details including your name.

Providing insight into any deficiencies is important. You should explain and support your judgment so that both editors and authors are able to fully understand the reasoning behind your comments. You should indicate whether your comments are your own opinion or are reflected by the data.

When you make a recommendation regarding an article, it is worth considering the categories the editor most likely uses for classifying the article.

  1. a)       Reject (please explain reason in report)
  2. b)       Revise (either major or minor)
  3. c)        Accept without revision