Information for Reviewers

If you are interested in reviewing for Mapping the Impossible, please get in touch via our Recruitment page. Note that because this is a student journal, in order to review for us, you should be a peer with subject mastery: you must hold a master’s degree or be a current doctoral student/candidate or recent graduate. If you are a graduate, we ask that you are an active academic, maintaining your interest in critical research and knowledge of the current literature.

Mapping the Impossible’s current review policy is “double-anonymous,” meaning that the reviewers will not know the identity of authors, and vice versa. However, we expect feedback to be polite, courteous, and constructive, and will not allow anonymity to be used as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour. Reviewers should seek to help the author improve the clarity of their writing, as well as their critical thinking and research skills.

We highly recommend Adrienne Shaw’s article on how to be a kind and supportive peer reviewer, as well as the Anti-Racist Scholarly Reviewing Practices heuristic. If you make use of the heuristic in preparing your review, we encourage you to mention it in the Any Other Comments section of the form. Further resources about how to provide rigorous, collegiate peer reviews can be found on our resources page.

All submissions will be assigned up to three student reviewers. Members of the editorial board might also be asked to review a submission. Reviewers are asked to complete reviews within a number of weeks (usually between 2-4). A member of the Editorial Board will compile a meta-review, based on the reviewers’ comments, and make this available to the author(s). If the reviewer also comments or makes tracked changes directly in the submission document, the editor will share that with the author as well, and such extra effort is always much appreciated! Please take a look at our About page to get a sense of what we are looking for.

Our review form asks reviewers to consider the following criteria: 

Originality and Quality: Is the paper sufficiently novel and interesting to warrant publication? Is the scope and detail of the paper appropriate? Does it contribute to our understanding of the topic?

Structure and presentation: Is the article well-written, structured, and reasoned? Is the structure appropriate? Is the article free of typographical and grammatical errors? Does the article adhere to the standards defined in our template? Are the conclusions sound and well-reasoned?

Previous scholarship: Does the author engage with current/relevant research in the field? If the article builds upon previous research does it reference that work appropriately? Are there any important works that have been left out? Are the references accurate?

The Review Process

Once you’ve registered as a Reviewer, you’ll know you have an assignment when you receive an email from the Editor. The email will include the deadlines, giving you a good indication of whether you’ll have the time to do the review

Review Schedule

In the Editor’s email to you, you will see all important dates associated with the submission. In particular, pay attention to the Review Due Date. If you can’t realistically complete the review before this date, you should either ask the Editor if you can have more time, or decline the paper. We will need to be informed of these changes to the schedule as soon as possible. Meeting the due date is critically important for the Editor and the journal.

Review Steps

The 5 steps in performing the review are as follows:

  1. Let the Editor know if you can do the review or not. This is important, as it lets us know if we need to ask someone else. Respond to their email to confirm your availability as soon as possible. If you are procrastinating here, you probably don’t really have time to accept.
  2. From here, download the manuscript. Read the file in your word processor. Some reviewers like to use the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word to record their comments and suggested revisions. Feel free to do so.
  3. During your review, you will be required to complete our form assessing the written piece. This form features series of questions to answer under three headings: Originality and Quality, Structure and Presentation, and Previous Scholarship (these headings are explained in more detail on the form, and above). There is also a box for more general comments, if there is anything else you wish to say about the submission that is not covered under the headings above. Keep in mind that the comments will be shared with the Author. You should always be polite, constructive, and generous in your feedback.
  4. Please return this form to the editor who contacted you. You can also send your revised manuscript, if you annotated it using Track Changes or similar. This is not required (though it is encouraged as it can be helpful for authors) and the comments in step 3 above can be sufficient.
  5. Lastly, as part of the form, you must make a recommendation based on your evaluation of the manuscript. You may select from the following options:
  • Accept Submission: this is rarely used, but indicates that the submission should be accepted with no changes.
  • Revisions Required: this is commonly used, and indicates that the author needs to make some small changes before publication. The changes will be reviewed by the Editor and no further peer review will be required.
  • Resubmit for Review: this indicates that major changes are required, but the submission does show promise. The author will need to make the requested changes and go through another round of peer review, possibly with you or with a new reviewer.
  • Decline Submission: this indicates that the submission is not suitable for the journal.

Once you’ve made your recommendation, your role in the process is completed.