Peer Review Process

The peer review of articles is a cornerstone of the publication process, which improves the publishing quality of our journals. Peer review is designed to select valid research of significant impact.

As a double-blind peer reviewed journal, we rely on expert comments of reviewers to ensure the quality of the papers we publish. Feedback from reviewers is conveyed to authors which frequently results in manuscripts being revised by the author and refined in order to reach the highest publishing quality.

  • Initial evaluation stage
  • All new submissions are screened for compliance with checklist requirements and adherence to the Authors Guide. The ones that pass are then evaluated by the Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Committee for consideration to assignment for peer review. Authors of rejected articles at initial evaluation stage will normally be informed within one month of receipt.

  • Peer review stage
  • Referring to our policy, each article is evaluated by two independent reviewers. Referees can either accept the article without any modification, with minor modifications, with substantial amendments, or reject the article.

    Whilst the reviewers are selected by the editorial committee, the authors’ names are not revealed in any way to the reviewers. The blinding of reviews is intended to favor a scholarly evaluation while fostering critical and honest reviews. Reviewers are asked to provide anonymous comments to the author and also given the option of providing confidential comments to the editor. Should the reviewers’ reports contradict one another or a report is unduly delayed, a further expert opinion will be sought. Depending on the availability of reviewers, the peer review typically takes around two months.

    Review decisions require authors to work on a revised version of their article based on the review comments and feedback. Authors would be given a timeframe of around a week or two, depending on the changes required. In case the required amendments are substantial, the author is granted a longer period, which may stretch up to a month and a half.

    The Editor-in-Chief and the journal’s Editorial Committee issue the final recommendations regarding the acceptance or rejection of a specific paper, in light of the peer reviewers’ recommendations and opinions. The author is notified about the final decision within a period ranging between two months to a maximum of six months from the submission date.

  • Reviewer’s role
  • Reviewing an article written by a fellow researcher is a time-consuming responsibility. Hence, IRL’s Editorial Board, authors, and audiences appreciate your willingness to accept this responsibility and your dedication. IRL adheres to a double-blind peer review process that is rapid and fair, and ensures a high quality of articles published. In so doing, IRL needs reviewers who can provide insightful and helpful comments on submitted articles with a turnaround time of about two weeks. Maintaining IRL as a scientific journal of high quality depends on reviewers’ ability to be objective and fair in their evaluation of articles.

  • How the reviewers are selected
  • Selection of reviewers is critical to the publication process, and we base our choice on many criteria, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations and our own previous experience of a reviewer. The reviewer is required to judge the quality of the research, analyze and assess the validity of its assumptions and assess the significance of the work to the field.

  • Using the online review system
  • The peer review and editorial processes are facilitated through Open Journal Systems (OJS), an online editorial system. The system sends the reviewer an email notification with a review request, initiated by the Editor-in-Chief. The online system will also notify about delays in the reviewing and confirm a successful review submission. The email notifications contain stepwise instructions about the actions needed at each stage along with the link to the respective manuscript (accessible only after login).

    The Public Knowledge Project provides a free online course on how to become a Reviewer including guidance on the use of the OJS system. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the editorial team.

    Accepted articles go through copyediting and typesetting prior to publication.

  • Writing the review report
  • The primary purpose of reviewing is to provide us the information needed to reach a decision. The review should also instruct the authors on how they can strengthen their paper to the point where it may be acceptable.

    A negative review should explain to the authors the weaknesses of their manuscript, so that rejected authors can understand the basis for the decision and see in broad terms what needs to be done to improve the manuscript for publication

    Review reports are required to provide in-depth feedback on the following four points:

    1. Scholarly quality: quality and depth of research; originality of the contribution including presence of new and creative thought; and validity and reliability of the argument.

    2. Literary quality: writing style and structure, including paragraphing, language, syntax, and flow.

    3. Use of resources: including over/under-referencing, sources quality, relationship of sources to the text.

    4. Benefit to the readers and the advancement of the field.

  • Review Recommendation
  • Reviewers shall provide one of the following recommendations to the editor:

    1. Accept submission: The study and conclusions are sound and the manuscript is written clearly enough that it may be accepted without modifications.

    2. Accept with minor revision: The study requires some minor modifications or re-writing which could be addressed by the authors in a short timeframe to be acceptable for publication.

    3. Substantial Revision: The study needs significant re-writing, further research and improvement in order to be considered for publication. The review highlights gaps or the need for reorganization of the manuscript. The reviewer feels that the recommended modifications require another round of reviews.

    4. Decline: The study does not provide and reliable or valid information is of limited interest to the field or requires extensive additional research or thorough re-writing before being suitable for publication.

  • Promptness:
  • Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.

  • Confidentiality:
  • Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to, or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage.

  • Standards of Objectivity:
  • Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.

  • Acknowledgement of Sources:
  • Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.

  • Conflict of interest and right of refusal:
  • Reviewers should refuse to review manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.

    Reviewers who feel not able to provide an objective judgement on the research reported in a manuscript should refuse to review the manuscript.

  • Handling ethical concerns
  • Sometimes as a reviewer, you may discover more serious ethical breaches. You may recognize much or all of the paper, because it has been published previously by the same authors. Alternatively, you may find text or ideas, which have been copied without permission or appropriate attribution from the works of others.

    In the case of suspected duplicative publication or plagiarism, you should obtain and carefully examine copies of the original documents to confirm your initial impression. You should then contact us in confidence to discuss the problem.

    QU Press follows the Code of Conduct of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the COPE Flowcharts for Resolving Cases of Suspected Misconduct.