Focus and Scope
The Journal of Indo-Pacific Archaeology is an international, peer-reviewed, open access online journal. Its purpose is to disseminate rapid communications and field reports on the archaeology of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
|Open Submissions||Indexed||Peer Reviewed|
Peer Review Process
Current practice is to have two blind reviews for each submitted manuscript. Additional reviewers will be sought if a submission is particularly controversial or multidisciplinary.
We especially encourage work from scholars who are not well represented in traditional forms of scholarly communication and ask that reviewers be constructive in their reviews of this work.
Reviews must do only two things. First, say what's good about a piece of work. Second, tell the author how to improve it. Nothing else – no freestanding criticisms.
The first task is to describe the good aspects of the paper. There are many possibilities: a concise abstract, an interesting topic, intriguing data, appropriate methods, a well-structured argument, clear language, provocative conclusions, sensitive referencing.
It can take a bit of practice to say good things about a paper. The temptation to use barbed compliments – 'This is an excellent analysis of theory and practice except for the connection between them' – should be resisted.
The second part of a helpful review is a precise description of what needs to be done to make the paper better. This may be on a large scale: 'A much expanded data set is needed to draw convincing conclusions'; 'References from the field of [. . .] should be cited and the key ideas from these references used to reframe the argument.'
Saying what needs to be done may also be specific: 'Instead of the last two paragraphs of the article, it would be more helpful to have a separate conclusion section with a summary of the key points made in the article, an assessment of [. . .], and possibly some comments on how insights from this assessment might be used in other parts of the world.'
There can also be specific comments about unclear sentences, missing references, contradictory arguments, and the like.
The big challenge in making such comments is to phrase them in terms of how to improve rather than simply stating what's wrong. Rather than saying 'This sentence is confusing,' say 'Rewrite this sentence to make it clearer.' This may seem a trivial matter, but it reflects a mode of thinking: By phrasing comments in terms of actions for improvement, we focus attention on what the author should do, not on the author's inadequacies. Focusing attention this way tends to make comments more precise – and more helpful!
Reviewers should also divide their comments on improvement into two main types – those that are essential and those drawn to the author's attention for information but not requiring action. Distinguishing essential and non-essential points is vital to help the author to decide what is top priority for revisions.
These guidelines are adapted with the author's permission from:
Brian Martin. "Writing a Helpful Referee's Report." Journal of Scholarly Publishing 39.3 (2008): 301-306. available online here and here
Open Access Policy
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.