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Note to potential reviewers: We generally try to avoid conflicts of interest when choosing reviewers. We realize that the number of researchers in some areas covered by the Journal is small, so, in many cases, some degree of association and/or indirect collaboration is unavoidable and even expected. However, if you feel there is a direct conflict of interest, then you should decline the review request. If you are not sure, then let us know and the editors will decide.

Purpose of peer review
The purpose of peer review is twofold: first, to help the editors decide whether to accept a manuscript for publication, and second, to help the authors improve their manuscript.

Format of review
A review may be prepared in paper or electronic form, though e-mail submission is preferred. The main heading should identify the manuscript and its authors. Three subheadings are requested:

  1. The general comments should present the reviewer's overall impression of the manuscript and should describe any major problems encountered. It is not necessary to provide a synopsis of the paper here unless the authors' own abstract appears to be deficient in some respect. This section should include the points which lead to your recommendation to the editors.
  2. The recommendation to editors should normally be one of the following:
    1. accept as is
    2. accept with revisions
    3. reconsider after further work/substantial revision
    4. reject.
    5. In the case of either (b) or (c), please try to be as clear as possible about the changes required.

  3. Specific Comments should address more detailed problems. It will be most helpful to authors if these problems are listed in the order in which they appear in the manuscript, with page, paragraph, and line numbers given (e.g., as 4/2/7-9).

    Alternatively, they may be discussed in order of importance. If rejection of the manuscript is recommended, the specific comments may be omitted unless you feel that constructive suggestions would be of use to the authors.

Points to be covered
The following questions need to be asked of a manuscript, roughly in order of importance:

  1. Does the research make sense? Are the theoretical concepts clear? Are the hypotheses well founded?
  2. Is the research methodologically sound? Are there any flaws in design, procedure, sampling or statistical analysis?
  3. Do the results make a worthwhile contribution to our knowledge?
  4. Is the presentation clear and well organized? Can the argument be followed? Could the empirical work be reproduced from the description given? Is the account of the materials adequate or should a list be provided in an appendix? Are the results presented clearly and in the most revealing format? Are figures and tables clear and self-explanatory?
  5. Is the literature review adequate and accurate?
  6. Are there any major flaws in style, terminology, phonetic symbols, etc.?
  7. Is the length of the paper justified by its content?

It is not necessary for reviewers to concern themselves with spelling errors, questions of format, minor stylistic matters, and imperfections in the English of foreign authors. Nevertheless, suggestions at that level of detail will also be appreciated, or if there are substantial language imperfections, this should be pointed out.

Approach taken in the report
A referee's report is a type of consultation given by one colleague to another. It goes without saying that the most useful criticisms are those that help an author improve his/her research and manuscript. If a criticism is presented, a remedy should also be suggested if possible.

Language and Speech encourages reviewers to identify themselves to the authors by signing their reviews or otherwise making clear that they wish to be identified. We will, however, respect a reviewer’s preference not to be identified; unsigned reviews will remain anonymous.

Status of the manuscript
Unless there are comments in the margins that are not contained in the review, please do not return the manuscript to the editors. Since a heavily revised manuscript may have to be returned to the original reviewers for a second evaluation, we suggest that reviewers retain their copy of the manuscript in such cases until the manuscript has been definitely accepted or rejected. Of course, until that time, the manuscript is a confidential document and may not be cited, copied, or shown to others without the author's permission. (It is fine to contact the author directly, however, about referring to the manuscript.)

Editorial correspondence and acknowledgment
Reviewers will receive a copy of the editor's letter to the author(s) and of the other referee's report. Any other editorial correspondence is not routinely sent to the referees, but referees are welcome to inquire at any time about the current status of a manuscript they have commented on. An alphabetical list of reviewers' names will be printed in the journal once a year as a public acknowledgment.