Our peer review key principles
for reviewers

These principles have been drafted to set out how we at Emerald guide editorial teams to help ensure the peer review process for their journal is fair, efficient, and effective.

Peer review process

Emerald journal’s peer review process should be the same in practice as is stated on the respective author guidelines, i.e.:

Review process

Each paper is first reviewed by the editor and, if it is judged suitable for this publication, it is then sent to two referees for double anonymous peer review.

Unless the journal is a precis title, or its author guidelines state that content is only reviewed by the editor, all journals must, at a minimum:

  • Be double-anonymous peer reviewed (i.e. the author and reviewer are both anonymous to each other’s identities)
  • Send content to at least one external reviewer (i.e. someone who is not the Editor themselves)
  • Manage their peer review through ScholarOne, so that we have a full audit trail.

Our journals follow the guidelines outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), and the following principles have been drafted in line with their guidelines.

Principles of peer review


Peer review should consistently follow industry standards and those set out in the respective journal guidelines, by all members of the editorial team.


Clarity on how the review process is handled with authors and readers ensures the content published is trustworthy and is one of the most important aspects of peer review. Outlining clear guidelines for authors and reviewers on journal peer review processes and, ensuring non-peer reviewed content is clearly labelled establishes transparency. 


Confidential handling of the manuscript is of the upmost importance, and discussions concerning the manuscript between the author, reviewer and Editor must take place in confidence.


The peer review process should be fair, objective and impartial. Appropriate steps to prevent and manage real and perceived conflicts of interests must be taken.

See the points outlined in COPE's Core Practices for further principles.


Diligent handling of the process is paramount. Practicing measures to prevent compromised review, like omitting acknowledgements or references included in the manuscript that could reveal author identities before being sent out for review is key.


Monitoring the performance of peer reviewers and taking steps to ensure the journal receives constructive, timely reviews maintains an effective process. Continuous improvements to the process should be considered and support given to initiatives that advise reviewers on best practice.


Independent oversight over the peer review process by the Editor and wider editorial team is a core element of peer review. Editorial independence and an Editor’s ability to decide what their journal publishes without external interference is a key principle for Emerald.


Coercive citation

When a reviewer or member of the editorial team request a reference to be included in the work as a condition of acceptance or without academic justification.

Compromised peer review

When the peer review process is found to be flawed. There may be reasonable evidence to hand that the author and reviewer know one another’s identities.

Manipulation of the peer review process, such as rigged peer review, or fraudulent activity on a reviewer’s account would likely lead to the peer review process to be flawed.

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest is anything which may have an influence upon the research/article, the review process or publication of an article. A conflict of interest may include a prior relationship with the Editor, a financial or business interest that may have influenced the research, or a patent, among many other circumstances. A conflict of interest does not necessarily bar an article from publication, however, it should be disclosed upon submission to the editorial team to allow them to make an informed decision.

Double-anonymous review

Neither the authors' nor the reviewers' identities are disclosed to the other.

Simultaneous submission

The practice of submitting a verbatim, or extensively similar work to multiple journals at the same time. Emerald’s journals ask authors to warrant upon submission that their work is original and not under consideration by any other publication. It is best practice for an author to wait until a decision has been made before submitting to another journal.

Single-anonymous review

The names of the reviewers are hidden from the author. However, the name of the author is made known to the reviewers.

Triple-anonymous peer review

The identities of the author(s), reviewer(s) and Editor(s) are not known to one another.

Related content

Peer review hub

If you’re reviewing a book, journal or article, and you’re looking for support including practical tips and guidance, take a look at our reviewer guides.