a writer can take away from comments that are mostly unhelpful or even upsetting can help you revise effectively
scholars who have published multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and received international recognition for their research projects feel shaky after getting harsh, ungenerous, or unfair criticism, then a student starting out as an academic writer is even more likely to be injured when Reviewer Two strikes
Many university libraries allow students to limit their search for articles to “peer-reviewed” materials.
learning how to engage in peer review – both as a reviewer offering com- ments and as a writer responding to reviewers’ feedback – is the best way to improve your writing.
Peer review develops a piece of writing by con- necting its ideas and expressions to a community committed to making it the best it can be, to ensuring it is accurate, ethical, and effective
eer review in this situation means the editors identify some people who are respected experts in the same field as Professor Good-Idea and who have knowledge of the subject matter.
Usually that means the editors ask each reviewer for a written response that explains whether the key idea is original, makes a meaningful contribution to the field, and is well-supported
will also invite comments on how the piece of writing could be improved – what terms to define, what other sources to reference, and what errors to correct
an author will receive what’s called a “revise-and-resubmit” request – that is, a response from editors saying that they would like to see a revised version of the submission that takes into account the feedback from peer reviewers.
the peer-review system helps to ensure the research that gets published is as good as it can be.
peer-reviewed article is a piece that several independent experts have checked to make sure that its research and the way it’s written are accurate, reasonable, and responsible
One way that editors strive to en- sure honest, fair feedback is to keep the identities of authors and reviewers anonymous.5
Editors and academic writers tend to call the person who writes such hurtful reviews “Reviewer Two” because the anonymized peer reviewers’ reports sent to an author will often be labeled “One” and “Two.”
most peer-reviewed publications seek two outside reviewers, and since ed- itors tend to present the more positive (and reasonable) review first when sending feedback to an author, the nasty reviewer has the nickname Re- viewer Two.
widespread impact of Reviewer Two types of comments on profes- sional academic writers seems clear based on how many social media ac- counts there are joking about such feedback
tales of the meanest comment you ever got on your writing is fodder for darkly humorous conversations with friends. At worst, attacks on your ideas and expression can give you the sense you don’t have anything worth saying or know how to say it.
First, be aware that it’s easy to edge up to Reviewer Two types of feed- back if you’re not thoughtful about your response. Problems in a piece of writing can seem obvious after a single, cursory reading, and if that’s what we focus on, we can wind up offering nothing but criticism. If you only point out flaws without noting anything that’s working, however, you make it difficult for a writer to see what they could develop (instead of just starting over). It’s good practice to offer at least one major piece of con- structive praise before presenting any criticism.
remember that when you point out weaknesses that might be addressed or problems that could be fixed in a piece of writing, you are doing so as a peer, not a judge or jury or divine authority. In my experience, the best reviewers of a submitted research article to the journal I help edit see themselves as collaborators in a larger project, one of many voices in an ongoing conversation about a particular topic or question.
Try to think of yourself as a reader who wants to understand what the writer is trying to communicate to you, and suggest ways they could do it more ef- fectively. Offer specific recommendations of what they might try alongside any criticisms. Cheer on all the ways in which the essay you are reading is working well, and stress how it could be even better