TPR Guidelines for Reviewers
Thank you so much for agreeing to be a reviewer for TPR: The Peer Review. As you know, TPR is a mentorship journal that not only encourages, but actively solicits writing center scholarship and pedagogical work from undergraduate and graduate writers, as well as team-written work that involves a mentor and their student researcher colleague. This journal is open access, multimodal, and promotes best practices in terms of accessibility and inclusive citations/research.
A reviewer for TPR has a slightly different role than for other peer reviewed journals in our field. For one, our goal is to get just about every pertinent submission to publication, and, secondly, we expect our reviewers to offer feedback that allows the author(s) to grow and develop throughout the review process. In other words, our reviewers are invited to act like writing consultants. Below, we offer a guide for reviewers about our priorities, goals, and mission for the journal. We hope this guide provides clarity on the different genres of academic writing that we publish (like conversation shapers, which differ from peer reviewed articles). We also include a roadmap to the feedback we hope you will share with authors, given TPR’s mentorship focus.
Articles: Full-length articles are between 5,000-8,000 words in length. They must be relevant to the field of writing center studies, and must not be previously published. Articles should follow APA formatting and be free of authors’ names and other identifying markers, including metadata and institutional affiliation. For review of articles, please provide authors with a narrative detailing your overall feedback. You may also want to provide in-text feedback for their submission, which is more specific and detailed than your narrative.
Conversation Shapers: Projects working to shape future writing center research. Conversation Shapers include a curated bibliography on a single, focused writing center topic. A Conversation Shaper submission should include a 500-word framing statement that introduces the topic and summarizes the bibliography. Following the framing statement, the bibliography should be formatted according to current APA guidelines and should include 20-25 sources. While sources can be from related fields of study, at least half of the sources should be writing center-specific scholarship. Following the bibliography should be a “where we’d like the field to go” section. In this field shaping section, authors should offer research questions or scholarship that they’d like to read. Conversation shapers offer a summary of the topic and a robust bibliography as well as future directions; they are a different genre from peer reviewed articles that contain original research. Please provide feedback on the framing statement, the bibliography (ie. are there sources that should be included?), and the “where we’d like the field to go” section. Keep in mind that authors do not need to make a new argument or conduct quantitative or qualitative research for these submissions; rather, these submissions should demonstrate knowledge about the field, the specific topic, and share some kind of future directions.
Book Reviews: Internally reviewed by the editorial board, these usually make up about 1 – 2 pieces per issue of our journal. They overview current book-length scholarship in our field and discuss the opportunities and, perhaps, limitations, of these works. Book review feedback is often a short narrative as well as in-text feedback that can improve the book review.
Giving Feedback: Encouraging emerging scholars to publish
As we know, the scholarly publication process can be mystifying for new (and perhaps not so new!) scholars. At TPR, we encourage reviewers to offer useful, engaged, thoughtful, and actionable feedback that pushes author(s) to further develop their pieces with the ultimate goal of publication. We also hope that this feedback process will help these emergent scholars to become better researchers and writers in the process. This is a tall order! So, below, we offer some guidance on how to give feedback to emergent authors on their scholarship.
- Useful: Useful feedback is feedback that relates to the topic of the project, the method or study design, etc. It might include more detail than is usually required of peer reviewed feedback, such as in-text/track changes feedback on a submission which is more specific and detailed than an overall narrative. Please turn off identifying information in the MS Word file when you return a reviewed submission to us (more information on submitting in-text feedback below). Useful feedback also engages in modeling where reviewers identify and discuss successful moments in the text. And it is formative, helping authors to move towards publication.
- Engaged: Engaged feedback refers to the paper as a whole, not just certain parts of it, so, for example, if the reviewer asks for information that is later included in the study, we ask that the reviewer goes back to their initial comment and update it to more accurately explain the nature of their revision request. Please also say what you see, as a reader, when specific moments in the submission are unclear, confusing, or otherwise ineffective.
- Thoughtful: TPR is a mentorship journal; therefore, we hope reviewer feedback can be kind, compassionate, and give the author the benefit of the doubt. These are emerging scholars who might not be as aware of the rhetorical or scholarly moves of the field or who might be looking at work in isolation. Therefore, thoughtful feedback recognizes that many of our authors are still learning the language of our academic field and the feedback reflects that particular point.
- Actionable: Actionable feedback offers concrete advice for improvement. It is also feedback that understands the context of a project and recognizes what is doable and unrealistic for undergraduate and graduate scholars to undertake in their revisions. Finally, actionable feedback includes goals for the author that they can act upon.
- An example of an actionable revision is asking for clarifying details about an author’s methods such as sample size, instrument, and research site.
- An inactionable revision is to ask the author to completely re-write their paper or to collect more data when the study is complete.
Given the nature of academic publishing and our specific author composition, we hope to make the publication process as smooth and timely as possible. This means that we often ask for about a 4 week turnaround for conversation shapers and a 6 week turnaround for long-form articles. Given that our authors often have to go through more than one round of feedback, we ask that you complete your reviews in a timely manner. We also hope that you are willing to review a submission more than once, so that we can provide continuity in feedback for our authors during the revision process.
Reviewer Determinations: Accept, Revise and Resubmit, and Reject
There are a few different outcomes for the review process, which include Accept for Publication, Revise and Resubmit, and Reject for Publication. The editors of the journal vet all submissions for relevance and, barring any very drastic issues with the submission, we hope that Reject is really a last option.
Revise and Resubmit: That being said, there might be major concerns with the article that include wholesale reorganization, significant additional research, or major clarification of the study, which would warrant a Revise and Resubmit.
Accept: If the project is well structured and researched and relevant to our field of study, Accept is likely the best option. However, even if you accept a piece for publication, you can ask for minor revisions that the editors will share with the author(s). This is a kind of contingent upon minor revision clause that we often work into our feedback process.
Multiple Requests for Revision
If you have reviewed a piece more than once and still see major concerns, it is likely not enough to simply repeat your feedback (especially if it is summative) but to offer either new feedback such as in-text track changes comments OR by contacting the editors to explain your concerns with the submission. Please do not simply repeat your feedback from revision-to-revision as most authors tend to revise as substantively as they can so additional feedback is likely needed to clarify concerns.
How to access our submission portal to share your summary review
You will be contacted via email from The Peer Review to review a piece. If you already have a TPR reviewer account, we will assign the piece to you via the TPR portal. If you do not have an account, we will create an account with your email address and you will receive an email with directions for signing into your reviewer account. You can access the TPR reviewer portal here.
Offering in-text comments on actual piece
While not required, it would be ideal if reviewers could offer feedback in the actual submission document. They can do this by downloading the article from the review portal, saving the document, and then using MS Word track changes function. To return in-text feedback on the submission, please email directly to the TPR editors: firstname.lastname@example.org. If possible, please anonymize your feedback by turning off your identifying information in the file:
(WINDOWS) Microsoft Word 2003 and earlier versions:
Open the Microsoft® Word file and click “Tools.”
Click the “Security” tab.
Select “Remove any personal information from file properties on save.”
Save the document.
(MACS) Microsoft Word:
For the latest version of Word (2015/2016):
Go to the Review tab
Click the Protect Document tool
Click Remove personal information from this file on save
For Older Versions:
Go to Preferences
Click on Security
Select “Remove personally identifiable information from the file on save” and “Warn before printing, saving or sending a document that contains tracked changes or comments”.
Eli Review is a great resource for both reviewers and writers. It can be a useful guide to follow during the feedback-revision process.