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Understand the peer review process

The peer review process followed depends on the channel the author chooses for their research. We highlight the two models used by our journals, cases, and open research platform.

The peer review process

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Peer review process infographic

Emerald Open Research process

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Open access peer review infographic

 

Peer review models

Single-anonymous peer review

The names of the reviewers are hidden from the author. However, the name of the author is shared with the reviewers.

The fact that reviewers remain anonymous means they can speak honestly and impartially. Meanwhile, knowledge of an author’s identity can help reviewers place an article in the context of the author’s earlier work.

Double-anonymous peer review

The reviewers aren’t told the name of the author, and the author never learns the names of the reviewers.

Outside of the triple-anonymous model (see below), this is the surest way to ensure that the process is completely objective.

The focus remains on the content of the article, and the possibility of reviewer bias is eliminated. Reviewer bias may be favourable or unfavourable, conscious or unconscious.

Triple-anonymous peer review

The identities of the author, reviewers and editors remain hidden from each other. The author is usually identified only by a number and communication takes place through a website or submission system. This eliminates any potential bias.

Open peer review

This can vary in form. It may be as simple as making the author and reviewers known to one another, or the reviews – and the reviewers’ names – may be published alongside the article. The review process may take place pre- or post-publication, and reports may receive their own DOIs, making them discoverable and citable.

This offers complete transparency. Some believe that the knowledge that reports are going to be published, encourages reviewers to produce higher-quality reports overall. The post-publication format publicly recognises the important work of the reviewers.

Our approach to article peer review

The majority of our journals have adopted a double-anonymous peer review model, with reviewers invited by the journal editor.

Emerald Open Research operates an open and post-publication peer review process. Authors choose and invite their own reviewers, and the peer review reports are published, forming an integral part of the article. Emerald Open Research is part of our flagship open access programme, which is designed to give authors more choice, flexibility and transparency.

As part of that goal, some Emerald journals have also been experimenting with an article transfer, or cascading service. If the editor decides to decline the manuscript, either before or after peer review, they may offer to transfer it to a more relevant Emerald journal in the same field. If the author accepts that offer, any reviews that have already taken place are transferred to the new journal, along with the manuscript.

Quality peer review is constructive, non-confrontational and prompt. It means putting yourself in the position of the author and helping them to bring out the best in their paper.

Anne-Wil Harzing – Professor of International Management at Middlesex University, London

Related topics

Reviewer hub

Here you will find practical tips and guidance on all aspects of peer review. 

Reviewer

Become a reviewer

Whether this is your first time reviewing or you are a seasoned professional, we explain why you should say yes next time an editor asks you to review.

Become a reviewer

Reviewer guidelines

Our reviewers play a crucial role in the publication process with a wide range of responsibilities. We have developed some reviewer guidelines to support you at each stage of the process.

Reviewer guidelines