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How do journals of different rank instruct peer reviewers? Reviewer guidelines in the field of management


  • Marco Seeber

    (University of Agder)


Current knowledge on peer review consists of general formulations of its goals and micro level accounts of its practice, while journals’ attempts to guide and shape peer review have hardly been investigated so far. This article addresses this gap by studying the content of the reviewer guidelines (RG) of 46 journals in the field of management, as editors may use guidelines to nudge reviewers considering all relevant criteria, properly, and consistently with the needs of the journal. The analysis reveals remarkable differences between the instructions for reviewers of journals of different rank. Average and low rank journals mostly use evaluation forms, they emphasize the empirical contribution and the quality of communication. RG of high rank journals are texts; they stress the theoretical contribution and methodological validity in strict terms. RG of very high rank journals stand even further apart, as they include 45% less gatekeeping instructions but four times more developmental instructions. While developmental instructions may help retaining the most innovative contributions, the fact that they are common only in very high rank journals may represent another case of cumulative advantage in science.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Seeber, 2020. "How do journals of different rank instruct peer reviewers? Reviewer guidelines in the field of management," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 122(3), pages 1387-1405, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:122:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-019-03343-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-019-03343-1

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    1. Bianchi, Federico & García-Costa, Daniel & Grimaldo, Francisco & Squazzoni, Flaminio, 2022. "Measuring the effect of reviewers on manuscript change: A study on a sample of submissions to Royal Society journals (2006–2017)," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3).
    2. J. A. Garcia & Rosa Rodriguez-Sánchez & J. Fdez-Valdivia, 2020. "The author–reviewer game," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 124(3), pages 2409-2431, September.

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