S5-BR6-1 - Review Unto Others As You Would Have Others Review Unto You

Panels / Special Sessions
Kristina Edström1 , Lisa Benson2, John Mitchell3, Jonte Bernhard4, Maartje van den Bogaard5, Cynthia Finelli6, Nadia Kellam7, Mark Lee8, Susan Lord9, Diane Rover10, Hamadou Saliah-Hassane11, Sarah Zappe12
1 KTH Royal Institute of Technology
2 Clemson University
3 University College London
4 Linköping University
5 Delft University of Technology
6 University of Michigan
7 Arizona State University
8 Charles Sturt University
9 University of San Diego
10 Iowa State University
11 Université TÉLUQ
12 Pennsylvania State University

Review Unto Others As You Would Have Others Review Unto You

Workshop facilitators

The session is led by the editors of three leading journals in this field.


Deputy and Associate Editors:

Goals and intended participants

This session invites participants to consider best practices and jointly generate practical advice for reviewing manuscripts in the field of engineering education research. We welcome experienced reviewers as well as those who are interested in taking on review assignments for the first time. The session is highly recommended for doctoral students in engineering education research.

The goals are that participants will be able to:

Why you should attend

Improving one’s skills to review effectively is a wise investment. While invitations from editors never seem to arrive when the timing is quite right, there are also rewards for the reviewer. Regular reviewing is a way to stay in tune with the field and acquire insights that can improve one’s own writing. It is also considered to be a merit for promotion and tenure, and part of one’s professional practice. Understanding the editorial process from the inside is also a great help for taking one’s own manuscript through the stages of the review process, from submission to successful publication.


After brief introductions and an overview of the workshop goals, participants break into groups. The task is to harvest collected wisdom from their own experiences of the review process, as reviewers and authors of manuscripts. The groups capture their advice on posters with “do’s and don’ts”. Posters are then viewed and explored in a plenary discussion. The editors will synthesize the group discussion and identify particularly useful pieces of advice.

Background – the peer review process 

When a manuscript is submitted, the editorial team checks whether the topic is within the aims and scope of the journal, and decide whether the manuscript should proceed for peer review. They invite reviewers with relevant expertise, usually two to four scholars, who volunteer their time to go through the manuscript carefully. The review is double-blind, meaning that reviewers receive an anonymous version so as not to be influenced by the identity of the authors, and neither will the authors know who reviewed their manuscript.

The first function of a review is to help editors make an appropriate decision about the manuscript. Each reviewer makes a recommendation, e.g. Accept, Minor revision, Major Revision or Reject. The reviewers’ recommendations can be quite disparate, so when making a decision the editors must consider them together with their own impressions from reading the manuscript.

The second function of reviews is to support authors in improving the manuscript. Reviewers provide comments to explain their assessment of the manuscript and give thorough, constructive advice for how it could be developed. If suggestions are disparate, authors must decide, sometimes with guidance from editors, how to navigate contradictory advice as they revise their manuscript.

The aim of the peer review process is to identify which manuscripts most deserve to be prioritised over other good manuscripts, and then also to improve them as much as possible before they are published. This process furthers the quality of the journal papers, and by extension the whole research field. It is only thanks to the reviewers, and their anonymous efforts, that it is possible to maintain a well-respected research endeavour.

Session agenda


Group activity

Back into plenary

During the session, lists are circulated where participants can sign up for receiving documentation from session (facilitator notes and photographs of posters). They can also sign up to volunteer as reviewers for the journals.