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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

Give us your final decision.

Make sure that in addition to commenting on the paper you tell us your final decision as a reviewer. 

  1. Open the rubric you were sent.
  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. If you wish to address any of the other questions on the rubric for the author, please do, but it's not required.


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 comments only. Do not alter the text itself through addition, deletion, strikethrough, or any adjustment of punctuation, font, or font style.  
  3. Mark your final decision on the rubric. Your comments are great, but we'll still need to know what you decided.


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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