High quality peer review is at the heart of any academic journal. Whilst not infallible, and much-debated, it remains the mainstay of academic publication evaluation and is generally seen as an essential component of the scholarly communication process.
Sense About Science has produced a short guide to peer review that may be of interest to journal editors. Aimed at early career researchers, it explains how peer review works and outlines its various limitations. It also includes useful information on the different types of peer review. Download Peer Review: The nuts and bolts from their website.
Your journal’s peer review policy should be stated on your submission guidelines. It should be clear what type of peer review is used (e.g. single-anonymize, double-anonymize etc.) and if peer review varies depending on the article type (e.g. editorials and letters might not be sent for external review). It is also important to state if not all articles are sent for peer review, for example if they fall outside the journal’s scope or the editor deems them to be of insufficient quality to be sent out for external review. It is also good practice to include an indication of the likely timeframe for reaching decisions.
Where an article looks scientifically promising but is poorly written, you may wish to advise authors to withdraw and re-submit after having their paper read by a colleague, particularly if English is not their first language. SAGE offers a fee-based English-language editing service for authors wishing to improve the language, presentation and formatting of their manuscripts. Visit SAGE Language Services for more information.