Peer Review Process

The peer-review process plays a critical role in both the evaluation and development of the manuscript submitted for publication. We do not see peer reviews only as a filter for acceptance or rejection, but as an important tool in a collaborative editorial process. The ultimate goal is to refine the content and expression of a paper to maximise its contribution to scholarship. IQAS seeks to maintain high academic standards. Reviewers are selected from a pool of established experts in the given field who are qualified to perform an impartial and independent assessment. Submissions are first evaluated by the editors; once they are deemed suitable for publication, manuscripts move on to a double-blind review process.

Double-blind Peer Review

IQAS uses a closed, double-blind peer review process. That means that both reviewers and authors remain anonymous to each other, but are known to the Editorial Team who coordinates the process. The texts submitted to IQAS are first subject to an initial screening by the Editorial Team for verification of compliance with all the rules presented in the author guidelines and for plagiarism. If these criteria are met, the texts are then sent to peer reviewing.

For each manuscript at least two external reviewers are selected by the editors according to their professional competence and availability. The appointed reviewers work in similar fields, as close as possible to the research topic under review. As we aim to provide access to results of academic research on Asia to a multidisciplinary readership we try to find reviewers from at least two different disciplines according to the particular field of research presented in the material. If the assessments of the two reviewers differ substantially, a third reviewer is selected. The objectivity of this process is reinforced by a system of anonymity: both the submitted manuscripts as well as the comments of the reviewers are forwarded in an anonymous form (double-blind) to the reviewers and authors.

Following the advice of the reviewers and considering the relevance of the article to the scope of the journal, the editors will decide whether it is appropriate to accept the paper 1) without any changes, 2) with minor changes, 3) with major changes (revise and resubmit), or whether the paper is to be 4) rejected.

In the case of outright acceptance for publication (1 and 2) the author will be given the anonymised comments of the reviewers for adaptation and corrections. If major changes are required by the reviewers (3), the Editorial Team will reconsider the manuscript in another round of evaluation once the author has made substantial changes. In the case of outright rejection (4) the manuscript will not be published or reconsidered for publication in IQAS.

Peer reviewers can recommend whether or not they believe an article should be accepted or rejected. However, the ultimate authority to make the final decision rests solely with the IQAS Editorial Board.


What is addressed by the reviews?

The reviewers are asked to follow the questions below, which include an assessment of the scientific quality of the article in general; the pertinence, originality and coherence of its content; the clarity of its arguments and structure; sufficient and explicit methodology and theoretical framing; its adequacy and present relevance; the selection of references; and clear written expression with regard to language and formatting in accordance with our author guidelines. The reviewer makes sure that the citation in the work is sufficient and otherwise point out any instances of incorrect citations/plagiarism.

  • Scientific Quality
    Does the manuscript in general meet the standards for academic articles? Is the research question clear, the analysis based on an appropriate methodology and theoretical foundations, and the conclusion convincing?

  • Originality & Relevance
    Does the article present original research results? Is the issue being raised innovative and the contribution of the author clear and sufficient to be regarded as an original piece of research? Does it make a significant contribution to the existing scholarly discourse?

  • Structure
    Is the structure logical and easy to follow? Can the main research question be identified? Can the arguments be easily followed? Are the results clearly presented and do they support the conclusions?

  • Theory & Method
    Is the theoretical framework stated and clear? Are current academic debates taken into account? Is the research methodologically sound? Are the methods used appropriate for the research questions?

  • References
    Are the works and/or words of others appropriately cited or quoted according to scientific standards? Can any instances of incorrect citations/plagiarism be pointed out? Is the list of references comprehensive and sufficient? Does the list of references reflect relevant current works on the research topic?

  • Language
    Is the language appropriate, clear and understandable? Language correction itself is not a requested part of the peer review process, as all articles are subjected to a standard proofreading procedure later.

Peer-reviewed sections

Not all sections of IQAS undergo the double-blind peer review; some texts are assessed only internally by the Editorial Team.

Double-blind peer review:        Articles, Review Articles
Internal review:                          Research Notes, Book Reviews, Current Debates, Conference Reports, Obituary


How long does Peer Review take?

This question is an important one and the most relevant one when estimating how long it will take between the submission and publication of an article. Still, it is difficult to answer, as the peer review process sometimes takes more time than initially expected. It depends on how quickly suitable reviewers can be found and whether they agree to assess the manuscript within a given deadline, which is normally four weeks. Both phases – the search for a reviewer and the evaluation of the article by the reviewer – might be protracted, be it due to the particular research topic (such as a highly technical paper or niche subject area) and thus the small number of appropriate experts or due to the full timetables of the reviewers. All in all we try to get the reviews done within two months at the most.

Selection of Reviewers

The selection of the reviewers is discussed among the journal editors and, if applicable, the issue's guest editors under consultation with the IQAS Advisory Board. The chief criteria for the choice of reviewers are their expertise in the subject matter and the absence of conflicts of interest. Ideally, one of the reviewers represents the same discipline as the author(s) of the manuscript, whereas the second one comes from another discipline but is close to the subject matter. IQAS observes a plethora of diversity principles, including regional affiliation. If possible, at least one reviewer should hail from within the (geographical) region on which the research is conducted.