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Guidelines for JAIC Peer Reviewers

Important Reminder

Please remember that a "blind" or anonymous copy of your review goes to the author. Your comments are meant to be constructive. Positive as well as negative comments can be important and appropriate, if delivered properly. These should help the authors realize that any suggestions are not merely meant as criticisms, but rather are intended to improve the quality of the article so that the end result is a professional publication. Blatantly insulting or mean-spirited comments cannot be passed on to authors. Framing comments in as constructive and professional a manner as possible will improve the author’s ability to absorb them and increase our chances of receiving a publishable revision.


The Journal welcomes articles on subjects of interest to professional conservators. These articles may treat their subjects generally or in detail; they may include practical, scientific, theoretical, or historical topics. To ensure the quality of the Journal, and to assist the authors in the publishing process, we want to provide constructive criticism of the submissions.

Purpose of the Review

  1. The primary purpose is to determine whether the article constitutes a contribution to the literature of conservation or related fields. Consider the paper from the point of view of a specialist and a generalist. The paper should have some meaning for a reader who is not a specialist in the field being discussed. Be aware that authors are instructed to submit original material that has not been published previously (except in the specialty group preprints or postprints, or conference postprints without widespread circulation) and that the article should not have been submitted to another journal.
  2. Clarity is important. You should judge whether the article is clearly organized and well presented. If not, recommend changes.
  3. Specific points should be raised when necessary. You should ask questions concerning a conservation treatment. You should also question a technical or scientific procedure if something is omitted, misleading, or unclear. Judge whether a treatment is appropriate, well done, and ethical. Errors of all kinds should be pointed out. Key statements of fact, unless well known, should be supported by literature references and/or experimental evidence. Keep in mind that many times there are multiple approaches that might be taken to designing a scientific experiment or a conservation treatment. Even if you might have designed the project differently, changes should only be recommended if there are actual errors or clearly inappropriate steps taken in the project.
  4. Correct for style and errors in scientific terminology. The Journal does not publish footnotes and entertains limited endnotes. If you review a paper with footnotes, instruct the author to study the JAIC guidelines regarding the Journal’s policy and procedures surrounding this issue. Similarly, JAIC guidelines call for the use of metric rather than English measurements. Please point this out to the author if you notice that English measurements were used. Articles must conform to the Journal style before they are considered for final publication. If you find errors in specialized conservation or scientific terminology, please indicate them. The paper will not receive a full copy edit from the publishers, so please indicate if the author will need to have someone else review for grammar and style before resubmitting.

Mechanics of the Review Process

  1. You will be assigned to the article in Editorial Manager.
  2. Read the submission and enter your comments into the system.
  3. Indicate at the bottom of your comments your final recommendation:

    Accept with Minor Revisions: The paper is almost ready for publication, requiring only simple revisions that could be accomplished within one month.

    Accept with Major Revisions: More extensive revisions are required (such as rethinking interpretations of the data, finding and incorporating missed references into the narrative, rethinking the structure and presentation of data tables, adding illustrations, etc.). This category of acceptance should require about three months for revisions to be completed.

    Reject but May Resubmit: The topic and basic approach of the treatment or experiments are appropriate to JAIC, but some of the work needs to be redone, or additional experiments need to be incorporated. Note that “Reject may resubmit” does NOT mean that the paper is unsuitable for JAIC, nor is it a negative response. It simply means that the requested revisions will probably require more than three months to complete. If you choose this option, emphasize in your comments that the author is, in fact, encouraged to resubmit the article and that the recommendation is not a negative one, but rather one which will allow more time for revisions.

    Reject: The paper is unsuitable for JAIC. If you have ideas for a more appropriate venue, please feel free to mention them for the author’s benefit.

  4. Please remember that this is a confidential process. Do not discuss this paper with colleagues, except confidentially if you need some advice in preparing your review.
  5. Please submit your review by the date requested. If you find that you cannot make the deadline, inform the AIC office immediately. The reviews are transmitted to the responsible associate editor, who will review your comments and may contact you with any questions; he/she will then make a recommendation to the editor. The editor makes the final decision and informs the author by the promised date.
*If you would like to make comments on the submission using Acrobat Pro, here is a quick way to remove your identifying information from the pdf:
  • Once you are done commenting, go to Comments/Export Comments to Data File.
  • Open that data file in a text editor or Notepad.
  • Find/replace your name with “reviewer”. Save.
  • Then go to Comments/Import Comments. 
The comments will all be updated automatically.

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