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URJ Reviewer Guide: How Reviewing Works

Guide to best practices for URJ Peer Reviewers.

UCCS Undergraduate Research Journal


How Reviewing Works

This page explains the technical side of being a reviewer (how to fill out your rubric and how to comment on the document itself) as well as how the peer review process works in publishing. If you have any questions about how to review the document, please contact Susan, svandagr@uccs.edu.

How to Comment on Your Rubric

Fill out your rubric.

More important than commenting on the document itself is filling out the rubric that the URJ sends to you. 

  1. Open the rubric you were sent in Microsoft Word.
  2. Be sure to include your final decision. This is the most important thing for you to provide as a reviewer. More than comments or marking the rubric boxes, we need you to tell us what you decided and why. 

Rubric with final decision highlighted.

  1. Use the highlighter tool to indicate where this paper fell on the rubric.

Reviewer rubric with highlighted rubric sections to indicate reviewer perception of the paper.

  1. Answer the questions with constructive, polite criticism that can be passed on to the authors. 
  2. Save the rubric with your changes and email that document back to the URJ editors. 

Need a rubric?

Click below to download a rubric. 

Diagram of the Peer Review Process

diagram of the peer review process

How to Comment in Google Docs

  1. Open the document using the link the URJ provides in an email.
  2. Make sure that you are not logged into Google or Gmail. You can avoid this by opening the link in a different browser than what you typically use. Your comments should show up as Anonymous. 
  3. Make comments only. Do not alter the text itself through addition, deletion, strikethrough, or any adjustment of punctuation, font, or font style.  
  4. Fill out your rubric. Do not simply make comments on the document itself without filling out the rubric. 


A good review with an anonymous comment on the text.



A bad review where the reviewer has deleted words in the text itself.


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. 

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