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Review Criteria

The peer review process is a decisive method for ensuring the quality of articles published in scientific journals, in particular electronic journals. Upon submission, articles undergo a standardised review process, which serve to evaluate their different formal and scientific qualities.


Formal criteria

From a technical perspective, the review process focuses both on content and form of the manuscripts. In a first inspection the editorial office checks for the validity of the submitted data, completeness of references, length of paper, quality of language usage, and the proper employment of figures and tables. The editorial office may comment on the current form of an article and may make suggestions concerning potential modifications. The technical check ensures that articles are received as intended by their authors. Articles will not be rejected upon formal deficiencies. Annotations are understood to aid in making submitted and accepted articles consistent with the design and formal guidelines of jvrb.

Blind Peer-Review

All articles are reviewed and rated by independent referees. When necessary, reviewers point out arising conflicts of interests. Matters of the first part of the review are communicated to the committee only, which then decides upon the acceptance or rejection of an article. The second part of the review ('Comments to the authors') is submitted to the author in anonymous form.

Scientific criteria

The Benefit of unified review criteria

Review criteria are essential for standardizing any review process and for making results comparable. In the following, the different review criteria for jvrb publications are listed, being represented by specific keywords, which are each followed by a brief explanation. Since it is necessary for any reviewer to base his or her judgment on one fixed underlying interpretation of the different keywords, these need to be closely defined and explained. Therefore, reviewed articles are evaluated according to the following parameters: Originality, Significance, Technical Soundness, Relevance, Presentation, and Adequacy of Citations. Additionally, it is necessary for reviewers to estimate the amount of rewriting required for an article to become publishable, and moreover, to state their individual level of expertise on the respective topic.

The Scale

A unified Rating Scale applied to the different review items is a necessary tool for comparing article ratings. The scale is hereby divided into five units, whereby the first unit represents the lowest, the last unit the highest, and the middle unit an average rating. The lowest rating is always listed first. The units of the scale are expressed by adjectives or short phrases like "poor", "average" or "excellent" to help the reviewer chose the appropriate rating. Such descriptions are thought to be less conceptional than rating by numbers.


The aspect of originality or novelty is concerned with an article's degree of innovation. Articles which cover aspects of a topic which are newly introduced, or which have only rarely been treated before, receive high originality ratings. What is also a decisive factor concerning the originality rating is whether an article has or has not been previously published. Articles which consist mainly of well established and renowned material may not be considered "original".


A high significance rating indicates an article's considerable contribution to a certain area of research. Thus, articles which present substantial new insights will achieve a high rating.

Technical Soundness

The technical soundness rating denotes the author's academic handling of technology and its terminology. References to nonexistent or even unrealistic technologies will devalue the technical soundness rating, unless the article explicitly describes new approaches to experimental technology. The appropriate description of technical facts is also covered by the technical soundness criterion.


Articles relevant to jvrb treat one or more topics of the scope. The relevance rating is decisive in that it describes whether or not an article fits into the journal. What characterizes a relevant article is that it is typically recognized by an appropriate audience.


The presentation rating comprises the article's readability, the employment of graphical material, language usage, formal aspects, and the appropriate use of technical terminology. A properly structured article not only eases the reading process, but also promotes a proper understanding.

Adequacy of Citations

The adequacy of citations rating provides information about the accuracy of references and the appropriateness of citations of articles. Not only do references serve to corroborate research results, they also aid the interested reader in gaining a deeper insight into a specific topic. If references are either too general, or too specific, and hard to come by, the adequacy of citations rating can be expected to be lower on the scale.

Referee's Expertise on the Topic

Referees need to state how far they are familiar with the topic of an article. The referees' level of expertise is another useful tool for evaluating the overall rating. What this implies is that an article's rating by a referee with a high level of expertise is expected to differ from a rating given by a relative novice to the respective field of research.

Required Amount of Rewriting

The amount of rewriting factor shall provide an overview of the overall status of an article, i.e. its need for adjustments and the expected amount of time necessary to put it into adequate shape. If an article requires only minor modifications, but is acceptable otherwise, the amount of rewriting can be considered "little" (indicating a positive rating). For articles which are not usable, and which would require a considerable degree of re-engineering in order to become publishable, the amount of rewriting can be considered "much".

Overall Rating

A final "Overall Rating", is equally designed to fit the standard review scale; it comprises all individual ratings. The Overall Rating concludes with a statement of acceptance which is expressed by a threefold scale according to which articles can be rated "accepted", accepted with annotations", or "not accepted".

Comments to the Author

In the second part of the review authors are provided with necessary information concerning how to improve the quality of their manuscripts. Hereby reviewers provide an overview of all relevant features of a paper, including both positive and negative aspects. The section entitled "Further Comments" offers the opportunity for making minor comments, e.g. for indicating orthographic mistakes.

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