Editors' Responsibilities and Standards: Review Cycle

Preparing to Assign Resources

  • Recruit reviewers using multiple sources, e.g., personal recommendations, contributor rosters, published Choice reviews, Web databases.
  • Maintain a reviewer database, replacing reviewers when necessary for performance problems, e.g., reviews that are consistently late or of poor quality, or strongly reflect a personal agenda.
  • Use reviewers as regularly as possible, according to their availability (n.b.: editors may not always be able to send as many titles as the reviewer requests).
  • Assess reviewer's background and appropriateness for reviewing a particular resource.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest when making assignments, e.g., reviewer and author are at same institution; reviewer is on publisher's editorial board or has commercial relationship with publisher; reviewer is quoted within the resource (including in acknowledgments/blurbs); reviewer has history of conflict with author.
  • Transfer to another editor resources (or assignments) that reflect internal conflict of interests, e.g., those involving a relative/friend of the editor.

Preparing the Review

  • Fact-check book review content for names, dates, and similar material; for Web assignments (including commercial databases) check review content against Web content.
  • Edit for style, length, content, clichés and jargon, and language that is ostentatious or empty, calls attention to the reviewer, or could represent an ad hominem attack.
  • Attempt to detect unattributed use of material within reviews by checking promotional material on the publisher's Web site.
  • Request documentation if a review alleges unattributed use of scholarship; as necessary, request documentation (including page citations) pertinent to negative generalizations within a review.
  • As necessary, provide reviewers with guidance about style, usage, writing a critically evaluative review, and definitions of plagiarism.
  • Cancel publication of late, poor quality, or poorly documented reviews.