*Looking for how to register with Humanity & Society as a reviewer? Please click here for step-by-step directions REVIEWER GUIDELINES Thank you for agreeing to review for Humanity & Society. Reviewing for the journal is an important professional service. While we hope you gain intellectual satisfaction from helping the author(s) improve their/her/his paper, we also recognize and appreciate the generous gift of your time. Reviews within four weeks are incredibly helpful to both the author(s) and Humanity & Society.
Please understand that Humanity & Society, in line with its mission as the journal of a humanist sociology organization, uses all non-anonymous reviewing. Thus, the process is one where authors and reviewers are both identified. In our view, this does not diminish the rigor, integrity, and validity of the peer-review process. Rather, we believe it creates a more open and honest dialogue between authors and reviewers. We find this helps to generate the kind of constructive criticism that is most conducive to improving the article, as opposed to the “destructive criticism” that too easily occurs in more traditional double-blind peer-review processes. In this spirit, reviewers are asked to participate in the organization’s commitment to mentoring new scholars to facilitate their professional development.
As a reviewer, your priority is first and foremost to help the author(s) improve their/her/his paper. Although we understand that only a fraction of submitted papers will ultimately be accepted, we view the review process as one that fundamentally helps authors to reach their full potential, be it theoretical or empirical, with their paper. Reviews should follow a clear, comprehensible format. After reading the paper carefully, sit down and write the review. A good review is often 1,000 words or less, and provides a valuable perspective on the paper. Begin by identifying the paper’s aims, as you see them (this may differ from the author’s statement), clearly stating what the paper argues, and what its contribution is meant to be. This should be one or two sentences that help the editor and author know whether the paper’s main point has come across. In addition, note the strengths of the paper (even if you do not think the paper as a whole is strong).
Next, present the comments you see as most central to an effective revision of the paper. The core of the review should identify whether: 1) the research question contributes to larger theory, 2) the analysis actually answers the research question, and 3) the conclusions flow from the analyses. Identifying weaknesses can help authors craft more fully developed papers, which sometimes means reframing the piece theoretically, refocusing the question, or reinterpreting the analysis.
Here, you want to provide clear advice about how the author might address the problems you have identified or the questions you have raised. For example, if you feel the author is missing crucial references that would help them build a better argument, provide those references; if you think the author needs to provide more information about methods, explain what is missing; if you have problems with the analyses or feel that they are not persuasive enough, explain how the analyses could become more persuasive.
Please be aware that reviews that are non-constructive, engage in non-useful personal attacks on the author(s), or extremely limited in term of constructive feedback are unlikely to be passed on to the authors. This said, reviewers need not be overly specific, nor do they need to provide line-by-line editing. Instead, ensuring the argument is sound is the better use of reviewers’ time and attention. The main goal of the reviewer is to improve the paper and provide a fair assessment that will help the author(s) in the long run.
* These guidelines rely on the contributions found in Gender & Society, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, and Societies Without Borders.