When the first round of the peer review process is complete, authors generally receive a peer review report from the publisher of the journal they submitted the paper to. In this blog post I present three different peer review reports from three publishers on my list. Two of them are reports of authentic papers, and the third is a report returned after a bogus paper (sting) was submitted. (The sting was not done by me but by someone else.)
- Peer review report number 1 [PDF] from the Review of Journalism and Mass Communication, published by the American Research Institute for Policy Development.
- Peer review report number 2 [PDF] from the International Journal of Economics and Finance, published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education (CCSE).
- Peer review report number 3 [PDF] from: the International Journal of Arts and Commerce, published by the Center for Enhancing Knowledge.
Looking at the reports, you will see templates that are used for the peer review, in addition to a narrative section. Each one lists a series of criteria with columns for tick marks. Some are yes / no, others use a numerical scale, such as 1-4. All three of these papers were accepted, with two of them only asking for small changes.
The textual components of the reviews are equally appalling. Here is the narrative review from the first paper above, from reviewer 1:
The paper provides a very thorough review of literatures. I appreciate the author to choose this type of topic for study. The paper is properly organized and demands appreciation. I think the paper will satisfy the itnerest of the readers
Here is the narrative review from reviewer 2:
The topic of the article is appreciable. There is originality in analysis. The author(s) do an adequate job of demonstrating the basic parts of the paper. The article is written clearly, terms are defined throughout the paper.
This is a sham peer review. I imagine they use the same or similar text for other reviews as well. The publisher’s goal is to get the paper accepted as quickly as possible and pocket the article processing charges.
Sadly, younger researchers who submit their first papers to publishers such as these may not realize that the peer review is bogus. They might conclude that all peer review is conducted this way.