Peer Review Policy
The policy and procedures for peer review, editing, and production are as follows.
- Peer review, editorial, and production procedures are designed to provide fairness, maintain academic quality, and promote the reputation of the Journal.
- Peer reviews are doubly blind (anonymous Peer Reviewer and anonymous author).
- The recommendation of a Peer Reviewer is almost always followed.
- If the Peer Review Editor or Executive Editor have a conflict of interest, other Editors will act in their place.
- Editorial Team Member acting as the Peer Review Editor
- Peer Reviewer or Reviewers
- Executive Editor
- Editorial Team member for proof reading
1. SENDING TO PEER REVIEW (within 2 weeks of submission)
The RTR system will notify the Peer Review Editor of new submissions by email.
1.1 The Peer Review Editor immediately rejects an article if it:
- is not within the word limit
- is not research focussed on Reformed Christianity.
- clearly is not academic
- makes little attempt to follow the RTR style requirements
- has very poor expression.
The Peer Review Editor advises the author of the reason or reasons for rejection.
1.2 The Peer Review Editor may seek confirmation from the Executive Editor if uncertain as to whether immediately to reject an article. The Executive Editor will either:
- Reject the article on one or move of the above grounds and advise the author, or
- Authorise the Peer Review Editor to send the submission for review.
1.3 With submissions not immediately rejected, the Peer Review Editor invites an appropriately qualified Peer Reviewer to review the article. The Peer Reviewer is given one week to respond to the invitation.
1.4 The Peer Review Editor ensures that the author is not identified in the submission (especially checking Word properties in the document) before sending the submission to the Peer Reviewer.
1.5 If unable to find a Peer Reviewer on the third attempt or uncertain about whom to invite to review the article, the submission is referred to the Executive Editor, who will either:
- Seek to find a Peer Review, or
- Reject the article, advising the author that a Peer Reviewer could not be found.
2. PEER REVIEW (within 1 month of accepting for review)
2.1 The Peer Reviewer evaluates the article according to whether it:
- is reasonably focussed on Reformed Christianity
- is well researched and research-driven
- makes an original contribution to the subject
- follows academic conventions and the RTR submission requirements and style guide
- is well written and substantially free from typographical and grammatical errors.
2.2 If during the review process the Peer Reviewer becomes reasonably sure that they know the author’s identity or concludes that they are not an appropriate person to be conducting the review, the article is referred back to the Peer Review Editor for reassignment.
2.3 The Peer Reviewer responds in the RTR software recommending that the article:
- should be accepted for publication in RTR;
- should be accepted with revisions;
- should be resubmitted for review after revisions have been made;
- should be submitted to a different journal (or referred to Catechesis); or
- should be declined.
2.4 The Peer Reviewer provides at least a brief explanation for the recommendation. These comments will be forwarded anonymously to the author. A lengthy report is not required but is permitted and can be helpful.
2.5 The Peer Reviewer may provide additional comments to the editors only.
3. RESPONSE TO PEER REVIEW (within 1 week of receiving the review)
3.1 Upon receipt of a peer review that does not recommend that the article be accepted, the Peer Review Editor:
- sets the status of the submission in accordance with the Peer Reviewer’s recommendation (either ‘Request Revisions’ or ‘Decline Submission’), and
- anonymously sends the Peer Reviewer’s feedback to the author (the feedback may be rephrased or summarised if that is needed), or
- requests the Executive Editor to review the Peer Reviewer’s report if it seems that the Peer Reviewer may have misunderstood the submission, has acted out of prejudice, or been unduly harsh.
3.2 For an article recommended for non-acceptance that the Peer Review Editor has forwarded to the Executive Editor, the Executive Editor will:
- accept the Peer Reviewer’s recommendation, set the status in the software, and send the Peer Reviewer’s feedback anonymously to the author; or
- authorise the Peer Review Editor to send the submission to a second round of peer review.
3.3 Upon receipt of a peer review that recommends that the article be accepted, the Peer Review Editor:
- does not record a decision but advises the Executive Editor that the article has been recommended for acceptance.
3.4 With a peer review that recommends that the article be accepted, the Executive Editor makes a prima facie assessment of whether the article meets RTR’s standards, and either:
- sets the status of accepted in the software, and sends the Peer Reviewer’s feedback anonymously to the author, or
- authorises the Peer Review Editor to send the submission for a second round of peer review.
3.5 With a submission accepted for publication, the Executive Editor tentatively schedules the article for publication, usually scheduling articles according to the dates when they were accepted for publication and so that there is a spread of topics in an issue.
4. COPYEDITING (1 month)
4.1 The administrator sets the submission up for proofreading.
4.2. The adminstrator checks the article in anti-plagiarism software and reports anomolies to the Executive Editor.
4.3 The copyedit is proofread by:
- the author
- an Editorial Team member.
4.4 The author, administrator, or Editorial Team member may request a second round of proofreading to check changes made in the first round.
5. PRODUCTION (1 month)
5.1 The administrator sets the article up for production.
5.2 The Executive Editor confirms the schedule of the article for publication.
6.1 The administrator publishes the submission in print and on the website according to the schedule set by the Executive Editor.
6.2 The administrator sends one complimentary print issue and the PDF of the issue to the author (but not to book reviewers).
7. APPEALS (decision within 2 weeks of receiving an appeal)
An author whose submission has been rejected may appeal the decision to the Executive Editor, but not if the submission has already failed two peer reviews by two different Peer Reviewers (whether revisions have been submitted or not). There is no appeal possible to a collective body (e.g. the Editorial Board or Editorial Team).
7.1 The Executive Editor reviews the submission and any peer reviews and makes one of the following decisions:
- corrects an inadvertent error that has been made in the recorded status of a submission;
- advises the author that the submission has reasonably been rejected;
- authorises the Peer Review Editor to send the article to Peer Review (whether for the first or second round);
- requests another Editorial Team member to make one of the above decisions. The Executive Editor will take this option if previously involved in the process leading to rejection and if the appeal does not seem frivolous or without substance.
8. QUALITY ASSURANCE
8.1 Editorial Consultations may:
- Provide feedback to regular RTR Peer Reviewers in the interests of quality assurance.
- Recommend that a Peer Reviewer no longer be invited to review submissions.
- Recommend changes to peer review, editorial, and production procedures.