Guia para rever artigos (para autores, revisores e editores)

4163b-large
Scriptoria. Image retrieved from: historyofinformation

Nas últimas semanas, à parte de umas férias merecidas (!), tive que rever uma série de artigos e arguir algumas provas. O “problema” é que a minha experiência nesta área ainda é muito curta… Por isso, neste artigo, partilho o meu esforço em coligir um conjunto de linhas orientadoras para a revisão de artigos (académicos) úteis para revisores, mas também para autores (como eu!…). Decidi escrever em português e inglês, pois as linhas orientadoras originais foram redigidas (como o faço normalmente) em inglês.

On the last weeks, I’ve reviewed a bunch of academic papers and thesis. The “problem” is that my experience in this area is rather shallow. Hence, in this post, I decided to share my personal effort to compile  a framework for the revision of academic papers. This are useful not only for editors/reviewers, but also very useful for the authors (as myself!…). I believe this is the first post I write in the Designlab in English. This was due to the fact that (even though I am not a native speaker) I’ve written them in English. I won’t translate the whole deal… just this intro and the framework. I guess you can Google Translate the rest…

Considero que só comecei a trabalhar nestas coisas mais académicas há relativamente pouco tempo. E, comparativamente à minha orientadora e à maior parte dos meus colegas aqui no DeCA, ainda sou um “menino” ;)

De qualquer forma, tem que se começar por algum lado. E, síndroma de impostor à parte, eu já comecei. Mas sempre que o faço sinto sempre grande dificuldade. O maior problema é ter uma forma consistente e regular de avaliar os trabalhos. Para isso, ao longo do tempo, fui recolhendo algumas referências que sintetizei num conjunto de linhas orientadoras para mim e que partilho com quem também estiver a iniciar estas lides.

Estas linhas orientadoras são boas para quem revê. Mas também são muito úteis para quem escreve os artigos. Nos últimos que tenho escrito, já tenho usado estas linhas como uma “avaliação de qualidade” final. Uma checklist que aplico durante e, especialmente no final da produção das propostas/artigos. Sem mais demoras, aqui fica a lista.

——

Writing your paper review

1. Summary of the work:

  • Summarize the point of the paper in one to five sentences;
  • An outline of the authors’ hypothesis, their main results, and the conclusions drawn.

2. Recommendation to the editor (publish, revise, or reject):

  • Briefly state your recommendation. According to the journal, conference, or paper publication guidelines state in a brief sentence the overall recommendation. On the references I’ve used, there are several “levels” of evaluation. Maybe try to synthesize your options to around 4 levels:
    • Decline. The paper is inappropriate, poorly written, flawed or wrong and misleading and hence no possible (technical) evaluation;
    • Probably Decline, or resubmit for review. The paper presents basic flaws in the presentation, or the written content. The theoretical background is insufficient, or the methods and techniques might be correct but are useless, or both need further work /clarification — “[t]his category includes sophisticated analyses of flying pigs”. Major effort necessary to make acceptable. Needs to go through another round of reviews after changes;
    • Probably Accept, revisions required. The overall paper evaluation is positive. It does not present major flaws, but some effort is necessary to make it acceptable. It presents a minor, but positive, contribution to knowledge and may not need to go through another round of reviews (further bibliography, data, or description of methodologies…), at the discretion of the editor.
    • Accept. Content (theoretical background, methodology, empirical data and results,…), writing and presentation (publication norms and guidelines) meet professional norms (depth, scope and relevancy to the topic and the publication). It presents major, or very significant results. Or it presents solid, or original contribution to the topic or area of knowledge. Improvements may be advisable but acceptable as is.
  • State the reasons for your recommendation. Speak plainly and passionately. Comments need not recapitulate exactly what you have written for the authors. Present views on whether the manuscript is appropriate for, or make the necessary recommendations (e.g. changing the scope or topic of the publication, or even recommend it to other topics or journals).

3. Discussion

  • Evaluate the validity and significance of the research goal;
  • Analise and argue the importance of the work and how it contributes to the understanding of the area, or topic of knowledge under investigation (and/or current context).
  • Does it present any conceptual advance (methods, concepts,…)? The first paragraph need not be long and is best finished with whether the conclusions are supported by the data and whether (and what specific) major or minor changes are required (without going into much detail);
  • Evaluate the appropriateness and the quality of the work specifically in:
    • the research and selection of the literature review and theoretical background;
    • the methodology (adoption and description of techniques, accuracy, and presentation,…);
    • the analysis (redaction, or reflection);
  • Using 20 words when you can use one will impress no one, and shorter reviews (within reason) are usually more helpful and constructive than longer ones. Clarify the paper’s major strengths, major weaknesses;
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of the length of the paper;
  • Break your comments into (two) bulleted or numbered sections:
    • Major comments / revisions / changes;
    • Minor comments / revisions / changes.

4. Methodological issues (if any) / Major comments…

  • Determine any critical deficiencies. The key point is to evaluate whether the experiments adequately address the hypothesis and support the conclusion;
    Or if there are basic flaws in the theoretical background, concepts, authors,…;
  • Present brief and pratical suggestions for improving the issues addressed.

5. Suggestions for revision (if any) / Minor comments…

  • Include mention of typographical mistakes and request minor changes to the text and figures;
  • Ask for additional data, bibliography, experiments in this section as well;
  • Other aspects, or recommendations may be appropriate, such as suggestions for improving the title, keywords, quality of the images, etc

These were the references from which I’ve modeled my own framework, and from which the key guidelines were exhaustively copied and adapted:

——

E esta  é a lista (mais ou menos organizada) que tenho vindo a usar para avaliação. Tenho que atribuir o reconhecimento ao meu colega do ISCA, o Prof. Dr. João Batista, pois foi ele quem me recomendou o artigo (do Smith, 1990), e que despoletou esta curiosidade, esta tarefa de coligir um conjunto de linhas orientadoras de uma forma mais completa e responsável. Espero que seja útil para alunos, professores, autores e revisores.

P.S.1: Se tiverem uma proposta semelhante, diferente, críticas ou sugestões, já sabem—deixem-me aqui um comentário ;)

P.S.2: Este é o estado atual do que penso e como organizo a minha revisão… fico curioso por saber como é que: 1) pessoas com mais experiência vêem isto; 2) como vou ver isto daqui a 10 anos! ;)

Author: Pedro Amado

Professor Auxiliar na Universidade de Aveiro a leccionar Design de Interação

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s