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Peer Review and Scholarly Publishing: Peer Review Process

A guide designed for the Undergraduate Research Academy at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Diagram of the Peer Process

diagram of the peer review process

Peer Review Process

Step 1: Editor Receives a Paper

You submit your manuscript to a journal editor. 

Step 2: Editor Determines if Your Manuscript Fits the Journal

The editor decides if your manuscript meets that journal's scope (purpose and audience). If it does, your manuscript moves on in the peer review process. If it doesn't, the editor will reject your manuscript and you should consider submitting to another journal or revising your work before submitting to another journal. 

Step 3: Editor Sends Your Manuscript to Peer Reviewers

Depending on the review process used by that journal, the peer reviewers may be "blind" (they don't know the author or institution the research was done) or not. 

Step 4: Peer Reviewers Evaluate the Manuscript

Peer reviewers read and comment on the manuscript typically based on criteria determined by the journal. They recommend to the editor whether to accept, revise or reject your manuscript for publication. 

Step 5: Editor Decides to Publish Your Manuscript or Not

In this phase, the editor may decide to accept and publish your manuscript pending some revisions identified by the peer reviewers or if editor feels like there are too many revisions required, may reject your manuscript and ask to you to revise it and resubmit (so you start back at Step 1). 

Step 6: You (author) Makes Revisions as Necessary

Again, the editor should send you clear revisions to make. 

Step 7: If Accepted, Your Manuscript Enters the Product Phase

Your manuscript goes through copy editing to fix lingering typos and then sent to layout editing so it is formatted to the specifications of the journal. It is assigned an issue number and will be published when the issue is released.