Guidelines for reviewers

Peer-review is the cornerstone of the academic publication process and we appreciate the service the reviewers provide to the journal and authors. Every article submitted to IJAL is read by at least two reviewers expert in the language and/or subdiscipline on which it is written. Reviews are used by the editors and associate editors to make decisions on publication, and help the author improve the manuscript and advance their research by offering constructive criticism.

Reviewers for IJAL are asked to read the papers assigned to them carefully and write a detailed review, evaluating the paper on the following criteria:

  1. originality: does the paper make a contribution to knowledge?
  2. argumentation: are the arguments sound, clear, and logical?
  3. accuracy: are the data accurate, is the theoretical framework properly characterized, are citations correct, are quotes used appropriately, are references appropriate?
  4. presentation: is the writing clear, is the article accessible to a non-specialist in the field, is it appropriately organized, is the length appropriate?
  5. suitability: is this submission appropriate for IJAL?

Reviewers are reminded to evaluate the article on the grounds given above, and not to base their recommendations on whether they agree or disagree with the findings. Not every referee is able to comment on all aspects of an article, but reviewers are asked to comment on whatever they can.

As part of the review process, reviewers are asked to make one of the following recommendations:

  1. accept as is
  2. accept with minor revisions (paper subject to subsequent editorial scrutiny)
  3. revise and resubmit (paper subject to subsequent peer review)
  4. reject (paper unsuitable and/or would require major reconceptualization)

All reviews will be read by an associate editor who will write a report based on the reviews and their own reading of the paper, and will make a recommendation. The Editors use the review and the associate editor’s recommendation to make a final decision about the article. Regardless of the decision, the reviews and the associate editor’s report will be sent to the author. 

Reviewers should keep in mind that the tone of a review can have an impact on the author. The tone should be critical but constructive. It is a good policy to delay a negative review and reread it carefully before submission to ensure that the tone is not unduly harsh.

Submission and distribution of reviews

Reviews are distributed and submitted through the on-line Editorial Manager system. Articles for review are downloadable from this site as PDF files. Reviewers can upload their reviews as documents in PDF, Word, or RTF, and can optionally return a marked-up version of the article itself along with their review. Reviewers can optionally type in or cut-and-paste reviews directly to the Editorial Manager, but this practice is discouraged as it runs the risk of loss of data should the reviewer’s Editorial Manager session be interrupted or improperly closed.

Anonymity and confidentiality

IJAL is committed to the process of double-blind peer review, so under normal circumstances the identity of the reviewer will not be made known to the author and the author’s name will not be released to the reviewer. We recognize that, in a small field, anonymity can be somewhat of an illusion, but we do request that reviewers not identify themselves in a review without first consulting with the associate editor in charge of the article. Under no circumstances should the reviewer contact or share their reviews with the author outside of the editorial process. The identity of reviewers will be known to the editors and the associate editor working on the paper.

IJAL policy is to share reviews and the associate editor’s report with the other reviewer(s) working on the paper once the review process is over, whatever the final outcome, unless otherwise requested by the reviewer.

All articles submitted for review are the property of the author, and as such are confidential documents. Reviewers may not quote from or distribute copies of an article under review.