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Webinar: What makes an exceptional peer review?

Reviewers | Researchers | Peer Review
Webinar: What makes an exceptional peer review?

Advice from Dr Roberto Di Pietro and Danielle Munday on how to structure an exceptional peer review.


“Conversations with a Hindawi Editor” is a webinar series discussing how we can best work together to maximize the impact of your research and ensure greater visibility of your published work.

This educational webinar welcomed special guests, Prof Roberto Di Pietro, Chief Editor for open access journal Security and Communication Networks, and Danielle Munday, Senior Researcher Engagement Manager at Hindawi, as they discuss what makes an exceptional peer review. Watch the recording to learn directly from a journal Chief Editor and a publishing professional how to clearly structure your review, handle difficult manuscripts, know when or if to comment on language issues, and provide clear actionable review of the research content.

We were glad to see so many researchers attend and engage with the topic and tried to answer all your questions during the event. The ones we didn’t get a chance to touch upon are answered below.

Do Hindawi use a double-blind review system?
All our journals operate a single-blind peer review model, where the reviewers are aware of the authors, but we don’t reveal the identities of the reviewers to authors during the peer review process or post-publication.

I want to submit a review but I need an extension, is that possible?
Yes, if you need an extension, please let your Editorial Assistant know how much extra time you require and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

As we want to provide a timely service for authors, we may ask that you consider declining the invitation to review if you require a particularly prolonged extension.

I don't have time to review the manuscript, what should I do?
If you don’t have time to review the manuscript, please decline the invitation as soon as you’re able – declining to review a manuscript is helpful to us as we can start looking for alternative reviewers sooner which helps authors get feedback faster. You will still be welcome to review in future.

If you are aware of possible alternative reviewers, you are welcome to suggest them to your Editorial Assistant who will share them with the editor.

What are the standards for peer review? Is it based on the requirements of the journal or the specific contents of the manuscript?
Reviews for Hindawi manuscripts are submitted as free text so can be formatted in a way appropriate to the content of the manuscript, the nature of your feedback, and recommended  guidelines of the journal.

Reviewers should read the journal’s specific guidelines for reviewers as they contain more detailed information and advice particular to that journal. We encourage all reviewers to read our guidelines on how to structure a review report prior to writing and submitting their report.

What if the author is more qualified than the reviewer?
Review is open to anyone with an adequate level of qualification and expertise in their field. This includes early career researchers who may undertake review reports with the supervision of someone more senior if required.  We aim for at least two reviews on each manuscript to ensure diversity of opinion and a robust review process.

Does research need to be novel to be accepted?
At Hindawi, we believe that all valuable scientific research deserves a home. Manuscripts that confirm, solidify, enrich, or replicate known data can have significant impact. That’s why we believe any progression, no matter how incremental, is valuable.

In the spirit of sharing findings through our Open Science mission, editors should therefore not reject solely on the grounds of novelty, interest, or perceived impact.

In addition to being within the scope of the journal, published articles must be:

  • Scientifically valid – adhering to accepted community standards of research.
  • Technically accurate in its methods and results.
  • Representative of a specific advance, or replication, or null/negative result, which is worthy of publication.
  • As reproducible as possible – sharing underlying data, code, and supporting materials wherever able.
  • Ethically sound — adhering to best practice with respect to animal and human studies, consent to publish and clear declaration of potential conflicts of interests, both real and perceived.

What if the research is original but not good quality?
If you deem the research is fundamentally flawed or not of sufficient quality for publication, we ask that you recommend rejection and explain the reasons why in your review. Please remember that feedback should be constructive, objective and polite, with the intention to help the authors improve their work – provide comments that you would be pleased to receive as an author yourself.

However, if the quality of the manuscript could be improved with edits, you may suggest a major or minor revision and elaborate on your reasons in your report.

What if the research is not a good fit for the journal?
If the research looks out of scope for the journal, this is grounds for rejection. You may also consider recommending an alternative Hindawi journal that might better fit the scope of the research in your report.

Do we get a certificate for reviewing a Hindawi paper?
Yes, review certificates are available on request. Please get in touch with us at help@hindawi.com stating your name and the ID of the manuscript that you reviewed and our team will be happy to provide you with a certificate

Find out more about our peer review guidelines and practices, and don’t forget to sign up to our reviewer pool.

Become a Hindawi reviewer >>


This blog post and video recording are distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Illustration adapted from Adobe Stock by David Jury.

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2021, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.