Ada is committed to a transparent, productive, and rigorous peer review process. Ada‘s peer review process asks a great deal of reviewers and community members who participate in the open peer review process. Because of this, we will only publish original contributions that have not been published, or submitted for publication, elsewhere. Ada‘s peer review involves two main phases: Pre-Review and Open Peer Review.
Pre-Review: The editor(s) or special issue editors of an issue have four options in this initial phase of review:
- Editor(s) can reject a contribution, if they deem it unsuitable for the journal (e.g. too long, inferior quality, not relevant to the issue’s theme or the mission of Ada).
- Editor(s) can solicit expert reviewers for contributions that fall outside their own area(s) of expertise. This review will take place on the Ada Journal Review site, which allows expert reviewers’ comments to be visible to later reviewers. This part of the process will be open only to the editor(s) and expert reviewers.
Open Peer Review: Upon completion of the Pre-review phase, contributions are posted to the Ada Journal Review site, where they are peer reviewed by members of the Fembot Collective for an additional three weeks. After Open Peer Review has been completed, authors will have at least two weeks to revise their contributions. Upon submitting a revised contribution, all contributions will be published and archived in a specific “issue” on the Ada Journal website.
Notes for Authors:
- Reviewers are not your enemy!
- Spell and grammar check your piece before submitting it for peer review. You don’t want the reviewer to waste time being distracted by mechanical errors. Spelling and grammar problems also suggest that you have not proofread your contribution.
- In this business, most reviewers give you the gift of their time (e.g. they don’t get compensation for the labor of reviewing). Most reviewers also genuinely want to help you improve your work. Keep this in mind when you read reviews.
- Listen carefully to reviews, even those that seem unrelentingly negative.
- While you may not agree with everything a reviewer has to say, keep in mind that the reviewer is going to be a member of the audience you’re eventually addressing. You should keep their comments and criticism in mind as you revise.
- Share your reviews with colleagues and mentors – don’t stress about them in private, especially if they aren’t entirely positive. Other people can help give you perspective on comments you might take too personally.
- When it comes to reviews, authors need to develop thick skins!
Notes for Reviewers:
- Be kind and critical. Always begin by saying what you like about the article, but don’t pull punches when it comes to criticizing it. That’s your job.
- Don’t spend time correcting grammar and spelling. If these problems are systemic, do strongly suggest that the author use grammar and spell check in the future.
- Do spend your time trying to make sense of the author’s argument: it often helps if you can summarize their argument or restate it
- Identify the main thesis or argument: think about how the paragraphs that follow create a logical progression – has the author used transitional words or phrases to help guide the reader? Has the author made effective use of subheadings, without relying on these subheadings to do the work of transitioning?
- Respect what the author is trying to do in their writing without imposing your own idea of what they should be arguing. A common shortcoming in reviews is when the reviewer is really asking the author to write a totally different essay or book.
- You may personally disagree with the thesis of the argument. Say that, but also keep your own comments limited to how well the author supports the argument rather than an ideological or political diatribe. This can be hard to do.
- Always read an essay at least twice. Don’t begin to write your comments until you’re on the second read-through.
- Be generous and generative: if someone does have systemic problems, recommend resources (a writing coach, an editor, a proof-reader, etc.) that might help them out with these problems.
- Mind your tone. Authors tend to be sensitive about their writing, especially in their draftier versions. Proofread your own written comments, paying attention to how you phrase things.