Peer Review

Peer Review Process and Expectations:

An Internet journal, such as Interface, reaches a diverse and potentially infinite audience.  Most of our readers are simply looking for interesting and informative articles. Most of our writers are simply trying to reach as large an audience as possible for their work.

We accept some author-designated submissions for publication under professional standards for peer review.  These peer review submissions may be used in various credentialing processes, such as academic promotion and tenure. We do accept non-peer reviewed submissions and those accepted will qualify for consideration of the Editors Award, of $200, at the end of the year. Peer reviewed articles will follow the standards of the Berglund Center for peer review as announced in “Evaluating Trust and Authority in Electronic Materials” published in Issue # 4, 2004.

These materials are those certified as “Authority level 5” and are defined as follows:

Level 5 materials have to pass a number of tests and represent the highest possible level of trust or authority. They are equivalent to materials published in paper form by scholarly journals or presses.They could be placed in a library and should prove useful for some length of time.

They have the following characteristics, but no piece, of course, will necessarily have all of them:

Materials certified as Authority Level 5 have been reviewed by scholars or practitioners in the appropriate field following practices long utilized in scholarly journals and other refereed publications. That is, they have been read closely by one or more established professionals comfortable with the topic area of the piece. The review process was “double-blind.” That is, neither the authors nor the reviewers were aware of each other’s identities.

In the judgments of these readers, the piece makes a contribution to the topic being discussed; that is, they are not merely a restatement of existing opinions. The materials have both citations and bibliographies sufficient to permit readers to retrace the author’s research steps so as to form their own opinion as to the strength and weaknesses of the pieces when measured against the set of evidence on which they were constructed. The author should discuss methodology as well as evidence: how do they know what they know?

The articles show an awareness of the current state of the topic by referencing or discussing recent work in important books and articles. The author should probably indicate areas where there are differences of opinion among authorities. The author of the piece is known, can be contacted to discuss or defend his or her positions, and have some specialized education, training, or experience relative to their topic. The piece is well written and organized and has a minimum of spelling, grammatical or formatting errors, showing the qualities of mind necessary to good research, thought, and writing.

Such publications would usually include research done in the language(s) of the subject field as appropriate.

Limitations of Level 5 materials: Despite these strict standards, even the best research and writing has areas of relative weakness, and scholars in the field will often disagree about each other’s positions. The more “cutting edge” a piece, the more likely it is to be controversial. For the average reader, however, these controversies are likely to be unimportant ones.

In order to provide a significant group of editors for peer review processes we have greatly expanded our editorial board.  See the new board at: http://bcis.pacificu.edu/journal/editboard.php. This is, we feel, a very distinguished group of scholars and practitioners in the various fields we cover in Interface.  We are proud to have them working with us, and we know that while following the highest standards in reviewing submissions, they will also be courteous and helpful in guiding aspiring authors. In addition, if you do publish with us, we will be happy to provide letters for evaluation files or processes discussing our standards, the readership of the journal, and any responses we have received concerning pieces published under our peer review guidelines.

If you wish to submit articles for peer review, you should be very sure that your submission does not carry your name, nor should you be easily identifiable from reading the text or the notes.  We cannot pay for peer reviewed articles, as the process of peer reviewing is an expensive one for us, involving the time of additional editors and often corrections and re-submissions.  If we do not accept a submission for peer review, we may be willing to publish it as non-peer reviewed, (it will never be identified as having failed peer review) but we will not pay for publishing it, as we will have put significant time and effort into considering it. We will discuss this issue with you if we do reject your piece for publication under peer review strictures.

When submitting for peer review, please clearly state that the submission is intended for peer review, and be aware that publication may necessarily be delayed an issue or two while we give the piece careful consideration.

Jeffrey Barlow
Executive Editor, Interface