Login to LibApps.

URJ Reviewer Guide: General Guidelines for Reviewing

Guide to best practices for URJ Peer Reviewers.

UCCS Undergraduate Research Journal‚Äč

What is peer review?

Peer reviewing is a process where submitted research is reviewed by the author's peers. For most journals, this is other scholars in that field. For our journal, you are each other's peers and you review each other's work. Peer reviewers are looking at what a paper argues and how well it supports that argument. It's not editing, copyediting, or proofreading, because peer reviewers are not concerned with the minor details of the paper, but the major parts: argument/thesis, tone, support and research, and contribution to a body of knowledge. 

To keep bias from influencing you, we use a double blind peer review system. You won't know who wrote the paper you review, and the authors won't know who reviewed their paper. To this end, if you recognize a paper that you are sent to review (either as yours or as a friend's), please let us know so that we can ask someone else to review it. 

Major Rules

  1. If you think you know who the author is, send it back.
  2. Don't be a troll. Keep your comments kind and constructive. The goal is to help authors improve, not make them cry.
  3. Don't change the paper. Comment beside the paper, but do not alter the text itself by strikethrough, adding words, deleting words, changing punctuation. 
  4. Stay focused on the big changes. Don't get bogged down in the grammar or spelling, but focus on organization and evidence.
  5. Make a recommendation. Be sure to tell us your final decision! Accept, accept with revision, revise and resubmit, and reject.

What we care about

  • Is this research?
  • Would it interest a multidisciplinary/general audience?
  • Is the tone and subject academic?
  • Is the paper well organized?
  • Do you understand the argument and how it's supported?
  • Is the writer making assumptions or failing to support their claims?
  • Did you learn something from this paper?
  • Is the writing coherent and clear?
  • Are there citations?
  • Are the citations styled consistently?

What we don't care about

  • Grammar (misplaced commas, semicolons that you hate)
  • Text size, format, font style, etc. 
  • Spelling 
  • It's just not how you would have written it
  • Citations look consistent, just different than what you're used to
  • If you agree or disagree with the author


  UCCS URJ logo