Developing Competence in Journal Reviewing

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Theron Muller, University of Toyama; John Adamson, University of Niigata Prefecture


This study addresses reviewer development programs at 2 Asia-based English language teaching (ELT) journals which aim to raise awareness of peer review language. Little discussion or research about competence or standards in peer review exists, so developing competence for new reviewers is difficult. This research addresses how novice reviewers of manuscripts develop an understanding of appropriate feedback language by analyzing written review discourse in reviewer development programs. Attention is paid to how reviewers are socialized into their responsibilities through interactions with review mentors, reflecting upon their feedback to authors over several practice reviews. The focus of the analysis is on changes to review language through correspondence between mentor and mentee. The process by which this analysis has been conducted and its outcomes may carry important messages for authors, reviewers, potential reviewers interested in the peer review process, and senior editors interested in issues of quality in peer review.