CQG is known for its high standard of peer review. We’re extremely grateful to everyone in the gravitational physics community who has helped to build and maintain this standard over the years. Detailing everything that goes into this would go beyond the scope of a single blog post. Nevertheless, I thought it might be helpful to you if I say a few words about what we are looking for in referees’ reports here at the CQG editorial office.
If you have refereed for CQG lately, you will have seen the following piece of text at the top of the referee report form:
Papers published in Classical and Quantum Gravity should contain original and interesting results that substantially advance their relevant field. Accepted articles should contain strong analysis and discussion of their contents. Articles that only incrementally add to previously published work will not, in general, be acceptable.
To break this down: there are 5 criteria for acceptance. They are not all mutually exclusive concepts. The first 2 of which are the most important:
If a Paper is new and interesting to our readers, then it’s basically acceptable for CQG. These are the 2 main things that CQG’s editorial staff are looking for when they read referee reports.
The other 3 criteria are:
These are ‘hygiene issues’ i.e. things which are not important when present, but extremely important when not. These 3 things alone will not get a Paper accepted for CQG, but their absence can cause a Paper to be rejected.
It’s important to realise that some concepts are subjective. Referees are not asked to simply check a Paper for errors; we want their opinion as well. It is a common misconception that papers which are correct should be accepted despite low levels of enthusiasm from the referees.
As an author: it might be worth thinking of referees as a ‘test audience’ for your Paper. Their opinions will likely be shared by other readers and it’s worth knowing what readers think before a final version of a Paper is published.
CQG also always seeks reports from at least 2 referees. This controls against bias, ensures greater consistency of standards and delivers a more thorough review than if we just sought a single report. Differences of opinion between referees are typically handled by a member of either the Advisory Panel or the Editorial Board.
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