Demystifying the Peer Review Process

The peer review process is an integral part of academic publishing. Palgrave Macmillan peer reviews everything published in our academic programme – while our editors know what will suit the publishing programme and the market, it is important that the quality of the scholarship is properly vetted by a specialist in the relevant academic community. Peer review is an indispensable service in the academic community and our peer reviewers are a valuable part of our publishing process. Peer reviewers are asked to give their opinion on a selection of issues.

Some of the questions asked are:

  • Does this proposal offer a useful and/or original contribution to the field?
  • Does it adequately engage with recent scholarship? 
  • Does it take existing scholarship forward?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed book?

We ask potential authors to suggest peer reviewers in their proposal. We use these suggestions, as well as our own pool of peer reviewers, to ensure that we select an appropriate reviewer(s). When brainstorming potential reviewers, consider the following:

  • Does this person have experience working in the research field in question?
  • Is this person sufficiently versed and well-respected in your field?
  • Does this person have intimate knowledge of the subject in question? If so, can they remain unbiased in their review?

We work hard at Palgrave Macmillan to make the peer review process as efficient as possible. We know that authors need feedback quickly and, as a result, we manage review deadlines carefully. While review times vary according to a book’s peer review needs, most of our potential authors receive comments in 2-3 months’ time. When a reviewer’s comments are supportive but suggest revisions to strengthen the project, we accept revised manuscripts for a second round of peer review.

A better book

Our goal is to provide constructive feedback that will result in a better book. Ultimately, the peer review process is mutually beneficial for our authors, our reviewers, and our publishing programme. It helps Palgrave Macmillan assess the quality of the project, offers reviewers an opportunity to play an active role in the developments in their field, and gives the authors important insight into their projects and how they can be improved. For additional information on the peer review process at Palgrave, please feel free to contact a member of our Editorial team.