All papers submitted to Humaniora undergo a rigorous peer review to ensure that they not only fit into the journal's scope but are of sufficient academic quality and novelty to appeal to our readers. As a reviewer, you are required to uphold this standard.
These guidelines will help you understand your responsibilities as a reviewer, as well as your ethical obligations to both the journal and the authors. You will also be introduced to what you should be looking for in a manuscript so that your review will be consistent with others requested by the journal. This is particularly important as all articles submitted to Humaniora should be evaluated on a level playing field.
Your responsibilities as a reviewer
As a reviewer, you are responsible for reading the manuscript and evaluating its suitability for publication in Humaniora. You are expected to provide constructive, impartial, unambiguous, and honest feedback to the authors, with the purpose of encouraging them to improve their manuscript to the point that it can be published in Humaniora.
Your role in Humaniora’s commitment to author development
We believe that publication is not an endpoint, but rather—through its function as a facilitator of scientific debate—one step of many in an author’s evolution. Any author, but especially one in the early stages of their career, should come out of the review process has improved as a writer and researcher. For this reason, Humaniora urges reviewers to not only do their part in helping a manuscript reach its potential but to draw from their wealth of experience to help up-and-coming authors find their true voice. By providing thoughtful, constructive criticism that authors can use to shape their subsequent writing, you aid us in paying the knowledge forward.
A further contribution you make is in establishing a standard of good reviewing practices, showing through example how a peer review is to be conducted.
Conversely, we must also emphasize that any form of criticism aimed at demoralizing an author is unacceptable, regardless of a manuscript’s academic merit (or lack thereof). Reviewer comments that in any way intimidate, denigrate, or discourage an author from pursuing the publication of their present or any future article are not tolerated, and any reviewer who exhibits this detrimental behavior will be permanently barred from contributing further to Humaniora.
Humaniora relies on the impartiality and discretion of its reviewers, and as one, you have entrusted with confidential material meant solely for critical evaluation. Without exception, you must treat all documents and correspondence related to the review with care. You should:
- Never use any of the information related to the review for the advancement of your own research or career, or to discredit another party.
- Never discuss any aspect of the manuscript with a third party.
- Ensure that all information and details related to the review and the review process remain confidential before, during, and after publication.
- Maintain the integrity of the double-blind peer review process. Do not under any circumstances contact any of the authors to discuss their manuscript.
- Be fair, honest, and objective in your evaluation of the manuscript.
- Declare a conflict of interest, and recuse yourself immediately if you believe your impartiality has been compromised.
The Review Process
Things to consider before agreeing to review a manuscript
Before you agree to review a manuscript, you should be certain that you have the necessary expertise and time to provide a critical evaluation of the article. Ask yourself whether:
- The article matches your expertise. Log into your Humaniora account and read the manuscript's abstract to determine whether your field of expertise matches that of the manuscript.
- You are able to both complete the review on time and dedicate the appropriate amount of time to conducting a thorough review. A review should be completed within three weeks. If you do not think you can complete the review within this timeframe, please let the editor know. If possible, please also suggest an alternate reviewer. If you agree to review a manuscript, but later on find yourself unable to complete it on time, please contact the editor as soon as possible.
- You have any conflict of interest. Determine if there is any conflict of interest that may affect your impartiality. If there is, you should contact the editor and immediately recuse yourself. If you were unable to detect any conflict before agreeing to review the manuscript, but find one during the review, simply contact the editor and explain why you cannot continue.
Conducting the Review (Humaniora’s review procedure)
Humaniora uses an online submission and peer review system. When a reviewer is requested to review a paper submitted to Humaniora, they will have a journal account created for them, through which they will be able to read the abstract and decide on whether to agree to review it.
If you have been requested to review a paper, simply log into your reviewer account, read the provided abstract, and indicate whether you agree to review it. If you decline to review the manuscript, please include the reason why, and if possible, suggest an alternate reviewer from a similar field.
To ensure the integrity of the peer-review process, all further correspondence will be through this system, with the reviewer being given access to the full manuscript and provided with a review page to fill out and submit. If you wish, you can also provide comments directly on the manuscript file, but be sure that all comments are made anonymously and focus on the content of the article, not its layout or formatting.
Your review should look at both the overall quality of the manuscript and the accuracy and precision of its details, with the former informed by the latter. Assess the following aspects:
- Scope. Is the manuscript within Humaniora’s scope? How interesting and relevant will the article be to our readers?
- Adherence to Humaniora’s author guidelines. Does the manuscript adhere to the journal's guidelines?
- The novelty of the research. If this is a research article, is it sufficiently novel and interesting? Does it add new knowledge? How original is the research?
- Appropriateness of the title. Does the title accurately represent the content?
- Quality of the content. Does the article adhere to Humaniora’s standards? Is the research question an important one? Does the manuscript help to expand or further current research in its respective field?
- Clarity of the content. How good is the English? Will Humaniora’s readers be able to understand the arguments made by the author(s) without confusion? Is there a logical progression and evident organization in the article?
- Methodology. If this is a research article, is its description of the methodology informative, clear, and concise? Is the methodology of the research precise and properly conducted? How appropriate is the approach or experimental design?
- The significance of the findings. What are the implications of the findings? How significantly will this manuscript contribute to the humanities?
- Appropriateness of tables, figures, boxes, and/or supplementary material. Is every figure, table, or box necessary and correctly described? Is the supplementary material appropriate for the content?
- Completeness of the data. If this is a research article, how complete are the data?
- The relevance of the discussion. Is the discussion relevant to the results and rest of the content? Have the authors appropriately discussed their results in the context of previous work?
- Appropriateness of citations/references. Are all citations accounted for? Is there an appropriate amount of citations for the content (neither too few nor too many)?
- Adherence to correct scientific nomenclature. Are technical terms used correctly?
In addition to the above criteria, you should also pay attention to whether the manuscript contains instances of plagiarism, improper referencing, re-publication, fraud, or other forms of deception. Things to look for:
- Plagiarism. Observe whether a portion of the manuscript has been copied from another work without giving appropriate credit. For example, a text has been copied verbatim without a clear indication that it is a quote, the text has been copied but not cited—suggesting that these are the own words or ideas of the author(s)—or some portion of the text has been copied without the permission of the original author. If you find that a significant part of the manuscript has been plagiarized, please contact the section editor as soon as possible so we can take the appropriate actions.
- Missing, incorrect, or incomplete references. All text, figures, tables, data, ideas, or concepts that have been previously published should be cited. It is considered plagiarism for an author to present something as their own even though it is not, regardless of their intent.
- Re-publication. Humaniora does not publish work that has already been published elsewhere. Please notify the section editor if you find an instance of a manuscript having been published previously (either partially or fully).
- Fraud. It is often the case that an author will misread a source and unintentionally make an inaccurate claim. Nevertheless, any part of the manuscript that is found to be untrue should be highlighted as such. And, more crucially, any form of data manipulation or tampering should be brought to the section editor's attention immediately.
Publication ethics is not limited to these four items (you can read Humaniora’s full publication ethics statement here). If you believe the author(s) have attempted to mislead readers, infringed upon a copyright or patent, or might jeopardize the integrity of the journal in any other way, please contact the section editor.
Submitting the review
The Humaniora review form
Once you have gathered enough information to make a decision on the manuscript, log into your Humaniora account to complete the review. At the minimum, you will be required to grade the manuscript based on the aforementioned criteria, as well as to summarize your major findings and give your overall impression of the article. Although it is only optional, we highly encourage you to also take the opportunity to comment on the manuscript in more detail, and provide specific suggestions that might improve any aspect of it.
If you have made specific comments in the manuscript file, remember to anonymize them to prevent the authors from being able to identify you.
Making good comments
It's important to ensure that all comments are constructive and intended to better the quality of the manuscript (or otherwise help the authors understand where they went wrong). Please reconsider making comments that fall out of this purview.
Follow good commenting practices. For example:
- Do not comment on the acceptability of the manuscript, and avoid suggesting revisions as conditions for acceptance.
- Provide detailed, unambiguous comments.
- Be respectful and positive. Your goal should be to help the author(s) improve their article, by providing constructive criticism and helpful suggestions. Consider how you would like your own manuscript to be reviewed. (Also note Humaniora’s aforementioned policy on malicious commenting.)
- Highlight areas that need clarification or should be elaborated further by the authors.
- Make suggestions on how the authors can improve problematic passages. How might they improve the clarity of a given section?
- You are not required to edit the style or grammar of the manuscript, but any improvement to the clarity of the content is greatly appreciated.
- Highlight consistent instances of misspelled technical terms.
- Avoid making dogmatic statements. You should be able to back up your comments with proof or precedence in previous literature.
- Take care not to dismiss the manuscript, whether in its novelty, methodology, or findings.
Your final task as a reviewer will be to recommend that the manuscript is either;
- accepted as is,
- accepted with minor revisions,
- accepted with major revisions, or
- rejected. If the manuscript is rejected, you should explain your reasons why.
Regardless of what you recommend, your decision should be supported by the facts of the evaluation and backed with constructive criticism. As one of at least two reviewers, your recommendation may differ from that of your colleagues. Therefore, ensuring that you conduct a good critical review is important, as it enables Humaniora’s editorial board to make an informed final decision on the manuscript. Also note that the final decision on the manuscript is made by the editorial board, taking into account ever reviewer’s recommendations, and your recommendation might not be reflected in this decision.