Advice for Reviewers

As a reviewer, you should use your perspective as an expert in CSCL and as a reader of ijCSCL to provide feedback to the supervising editor of a manuscript and to its author(s) about how to improve the quality of the paper to make it an excellent publication. Most of the papers eventually published require “major revisions” to clarify the structure and details of their argument. You are asked (a) to judge whether the manuscript has the potential to be an important contribution to the CSCL literature and (b) how the manuscript should be improved. Please focus on the major issues. Proofreading of English grammar and typos as well as formatting of references will be done by the Managing Editor, and need not be your concern.

Reviews should be high-level judgments about the suitability of the paper for the ijCSCL audience. What is the paper’s most significant contribution to the CSCL research literature? How can that contribution be made clearer and be supported more strongly? What is missing from the paper (e.g., important references, arguments, detailed analysis of data)? What can be deleted from the paper (e.g., redundancies, well-known information, unnecessary details)? How else can the paper be improved?

It is alright if you do not feel that you are an expert in the specific topic of a paper assigned to you. A meta-reviewer will synthesize your comments with the reviews of other people, whose expertise complements yours. Remember, a paper must make sense to people who are not specialists on the topic, as well as satisfying legitimate concerns of specialists. Note that the paper need not be exactly the way you would have written it; be tolerant of the author’s approach as long as it meets scholarly standards.

If you feel that the manuscript is hopelessly immature or irrelevant to CSCL, then briefly state your reasons for thinking so. Authors appreciate constructive criticism.

Here are the steps to enter your review in Springer’s Editorial Manager online system:

  1. Indicate your publishing recommendation by selecting the appropriate recommendation from the drop-down box.
  2. Score the various components of the manuscript by selecting the most appropriate buttons.
  3. Place all comments for the author in the “Reviewer Blind Comments to Author” box. (Suggestion: you may want to compose your review in a word processor and save a copy of it.)
  4. Place any confidential comments for the Editor in the “Reviewer Confidential Comments to Editor” box.
  5. Do not forget to press the “Proceed” and “Submit Review to Journal Office” buttons to complete the review.

Your effort in reviewing a manuscript is appreciated by the submitting author, the ijCSCL Board and the CSCL community. The reviews are the most important means for maintaining the quality of the journal, advancing the skills of researchers and furthering the discourse of the CSCL community. When a decision is made on the manuscript, you will receive a copy of the decision letter with all the reviews. Your identity as reviewer will, of course, be kept confidential.