What is a peer pre-review?

A peer pre-review is similar to peer review for a scholarly journal, but faster, more complete, and constructive. Peer pre-reviewers are asked to read the entire paper and make constructive suggestions, wherever they think of something useful, throughout.  The focus is not on whether the paper is appropriate for the particular journal, or whether it meets a particular standard, although publication suggestions are welcome, but rather on potential improvements. This can include some or all of the following:

 
  • Are the empirical methods implemented appropriately? Could they be improved or replaced with something better?

  • Is the theory used in the paper appropriate to the research question and findings? Is it plausible and interesting? Can it be improved?

  • Have the paper’s weaknesses been clearly identified by the author (so peer reviewers can’t say “and the author didn’t even notice”)? Is the potential bias or other damage from these weaknesses convincingly addressed with by the author? Could this be improved?

  • Can you rephrase the research question, or the overall pitch of the paper, so it will better resonate with the public and academic audiences, be more impactful overall, or better support the strengths of the paper?

  • Can the language, mathematical notation, arguments, or visualizations be improved so the paper more effectively communicates to its intended audience?

  • Do the figures or tables convey the most important points in the paper in the most effective ways? Can they be improved?

  • Can you suggest better sources of data, theory, or literature that could improve the manuscript?