When delivering your review, please fill in the review form. On the form, there is a space for comments for the editor and a space for comments for the author. Be aware that your comments intended for the author will be included in the final decision letter, which the other reviewer(s) may see.
The following guidelines draw heavily from “A quick guide to writing a solid peer review,” by Nicholas & Gordon (2011; Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 92, pp. 233-234).
1. Skim the paper and write the first two paragraphs of your review to state what the paper’s main research question is, whether it is pertinent to the field of study and whether the results contribute substantively to the question. The first paragraph should present the main research question addressed by the paper and summarize the goals, approaches and conclusions of the study. The second paragraph addresses whether the question asked by the paper is important and interesting, whether the methods are appropriate, whether the data support the conclusions and how the paper advances the field of study. State whether you believe the paper is publishable in principle or whether it is flawed in a way that cannot be rectified. If you determine that the paper is fatally flawed (for example, because of methodological problems), elaborate on this, provide citations to support your view and conclude your review. Any suspected conflict of interest, plagiarism, duplicate publication, simultaneous submission or fabrication of data should be stated.
2. If the paper is publishable in principle, re-read the paper and compose the main points of your review. Comment on both negative and positive aspects of the paper and clearly separate each of your points. When making a criticism, suggest ways to redress the problem. Regarding the reference list, comment on whether important references are left out or if the references seem “padded”, especially with unnecessary self-citations. If you would like to discuss some aspect of the paper with a colleague, please consult the editor first: contents of unpublished manuscripts should remain confidential.
3. Give the paper a final reading and note any issues that have not already been covered in the review pertaining to the paper’s exposition, organization, figures and tables. Can the paper be shortened without diminishing its impact? Does the exposition flow logically? Is the writing clear and concise? Are there many spelling or grammatical mistakes? Are there obvious discrepancies between the citations and reference list? Are the figures of good quality and are all of them necessary? Should additional figures or tables be included?
An important technical note for reviewers who would like to remain anonymous: If you would like to submit an annotated copy of the manuscript in Word take the following measures. (1) With the document open, click the Microsoft Office button, choose Prepare and then Properties, where you remove your name from the Author field. Save your changes to the document. (2) After you have inserted all your comments and/or tracked changes, save your changes and then click the Microsoft Office button, choose Prepare and then Inspect Document. Click Inspect. Click Remove All next to Document Properties and Personal Information. Click Reinspect and then save the document again. You may need to close and reopen the document to see that your name or initials have been removed from comments and changes. You will have to repeat this process if you make additional changes or comments to the manuscript.
Before marking up a PDF file that you intend to upload for the author to see, preserve your anonymity by clicking File and then Properties and clearing your name from the Author field under the Description tab.