Publication Recommendation Levels
As a reviewer, you will ultimately need to tackle the following questions regarding whether the paper you have evaluated is appropriate for publication in its present form.
- Do you recommend that the paper be accepted for publication in its current form?
- If you recommend rejecting or revision of the paper, please prepare a detailed, CONSTRUCTIVE analysis for the author. The questions posed in the Questions to Ponder section may help focus and/or provide talking points for your constructive analysis.
- If you recommend rejecting the paper, is the study sufficiently promising to encourage the authors to continue revising the paper for possible submission elsewhere?
- If you recommend rejecting the paper, what specific work is needed to make it acceptable for possible submission elsewhere?
To help you decide which level of recommendation to choose, we have outlined a few thoughts for your consideration.
Publish: The paper makes a substantial contribution to the PER field. The authors provide a strong rationale for the importance of the problem or issue under examination. The methodology is appropriate for addressing the questions or issue. The study is fundamentally sound. By "substantial contribution" we mean:
- the findings of the paper provide insight into a critical existing physics education problem or practice;
- the paper provides new ways of examining how to study problems and questions in the field, or
- the paper helps us think about critical issues in the field.
The paper meets the formatting requirements for the PERC Proceedings. It may need to have some minor re-wording to clarify the meaning of specific passages. It does not need to have any additional data or discussion added to strengthen the work presented. It may benefit from a thorough re-read to catch additional spelling and grammar errors but none of these significantly affect the message of the piece.
Offer this recommendation if you have given the paper good (3) to high (4, 5) marks in all categories.
Publish with MINOR Modifications: The paper makes a substantial contribution to the PER field, but one or more aspects of the paper need minor clarification. The methodology is appropriate for addressing the questions or issue. The study is fundamentally sound. Even with the need for improvement, there is no doubt that the paper warrants publication in the PERC Proceedings. The amount of clarification necessary would NOT require a re-review of the paper.
Improvements may include the following:
- The data analysis section needs further clarification to show how the findings follow from the data.
- The organization of the paper could be improved by rearranging the sections.
- Minor clarification of the methodology might be necessary.
The paper meets the formatting requirements for the PERC Proceedings. It contains several passages that require re-wording to clarify their meaning. It does not need to have any additional data but may need additional discussion added to strengthen the work presented.
A major consideration when selecting this level of recommendation is the length of time and amount of changes required by the authors.
- How much would further work improve the paper?
- How difficult would this be?
- Would it take a long time?
If your answers to these questions indicate that the paper would need too much work, would be too difficult, and would take a long time to do, then this paper should be rejected as the paper would require a re-review before publishing.
This is the appropriate level of recommendation if you have given the paper good (3) to high (4, 5) marks in the most important categories (a - c), but you feel it would definitely benefit from a thorough re-read to catch additional spelling and grammar errors as some of these affect the message of the piece.
Do Not Publish: Typically, this categorization would be reserved specifically for papers in which the reviewers have found a significant number of weaknesses across several categories. However, due to the short turnaround time for the PERC Proceedings, this is not the only reason to recommend that a paper NOT be accepted for publication. The following are also examples of issues that would suggest that a paper not be accepted for publication at this time.
- Papers that reviewers find make a substantial contribution to the PER field, but one or more aspects of the paper need improvement. For instance, the data analysis section needs further clarification to show how the findings follow from the data by the addition of new data. New data can mean data already collected but not provided in this version of the paper, previously unanalyzed data, or the collection of additional data. One common omission in submitted papers is that authors fail to elucidate what the major contributions of the paper are to the field. These papers would require a re-evaluation before publication.
- The paper has the potential to make a substantial contribution to the PER field, but as written the paper has too many weaknesses to allow you to make a decision. For instance, the authors may not have provided an appropriate rationale for the study or the methodology is poorly explained. The paper requires a substantive revision and then a re-evaluation for publication.
- The paper has limited potential to make a substantial contribution to the PER field because there are too many weaknesses in the paper, one or more weaknesses that cannot be improved, or the paper does not provide new insights to field. Rejections generally fall into two groups; papers with particular weaknesses in the study or presentation, and papers where the study may be strong but the work does not substantially advance the field.
You should consider any paper that you gave low (1, 2) marks in one or more of the important categories (a - c) at this level of recommendation.