Q: What does peer review mean?

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Before a manuscript is accepted for publication, it goes through the peer review process. Peer review refers to the evaluation and assessment of research by experts in a particular field of study. It is mainly considered as an expert advice system that helps journal editors decide whether a manuscript is worthy of publication. Peer reviewers only critically evaluate the quality of research and recommend changes based on their understanding. The final decision to accept or reject a manuscript rests with the journal editor.

During the peer review process, reviewers make comments on various aspects of the manuscript. Peer review comments can vary from requests for minor revisions or language checks to major revisions including performing additional experiments. The researcher can choose to either revise the manuscript based on those comments or defend his/her stance, whichever they deem fit. The peer review is completed once all the reviewers send the journal a detailed report with their comments on the manuscript and their recommendation.

The process can last up to several months as reviewers are busy researchers themselves and often juggle between multiple tasks. The duration of the peer review process can also vary across disciplines and can also depend on the nature of the research.

You can read the following articles to find out about the types of peer review and how you can address reviewer comments.