Guidelines for Reviewers




Double-anonymous peer-review

Research articles accepted by the Managing Editor are subjected to double-anonymous peer-review in which neither the reviewers nor the authors are identified. This process is designed to help select articles for publication in the BRJ; improve the article wherever possible; and ensure there is no academic misconduct. The peer-review process is managed by the Managing Editor, who approaches a member of the Editorial Board to select two independent reviewers based on their expertise. The reviewers are expected to treat the contents of unpublished manuscripts with confidentiality. If the conclusions of the reviewers are not unanimous, a third reviewer may be consulted. Reviews should provide the Managing Editor with information and arguments for their decision whether to accept or reject the manuscript.

Time schedule

Referees are to return their reviews within one month of acceptance. Please inform the Managing Editor as soon as possible if you cannot meet this deadline.


The peer-review form is divided into two parts: the criteria checklist will be read only by the editors, whereas the free text field will be shared with the author(s) as well. The reviewers are expected to be as objective as possible in their judgments and should have no conflict of interest in relation to the research. If so, the Managing Editor is to be informed before the start of the review process.

a) Checklist

The checklist is designed to help the reviewers to produce a fair, consistent, complete, and helpful review and assist the editors in making an informed decision. The checklist is not designed to replace the review itself, which will be shared with the author(s). In the checklist, the reviewer first evaluates the given criteria (single choice) and subsequently explains their reasoning in a brief comment. Any suggestions for improving the checklist are most welcome.

1. Title

Does the title clearly and sufficiently reflect the article?

2. Abstract

Does it give all vital information, including main arguments, results, and conclusions? Is it well structured?

3. Introduction

Does it signpost the arguments and research objectives logically and clearly? Does it set the study within the context of existing research and explain its relevance?

4. Content and Relevance

Does the article fit with the scope of the journal and reflect the current state of research? Is the submission original, relevant, and rigorous? Does it offer new research material, new perspectives on established questions, or draw attention to areas that have been overlooked? Does it advance knowledge or understanding in specific fields?

5. Structure and Argument

Is the article well organized? Should sections be condensed or rearranged? Can the paper be shortened without reducing its impact? Are the arguments conclusive, comprehensible, and incisive?

6. Methods

Has appropriate methodology been used, and has it been used correctly and explained adequately?

7. Literature and Sources

Does this paper engage appropriately and sufficiently with extant historiography? Does it draw on original primary sources?

8. Conclusion

Are the results presented clearly? Does the conclusion meet the objectives set out in the introduction and reflect the reasonings in the main text?

9. Language

Is the quality of the language satisfactory? Is it written in a clear and accessible style?

10. Figures

Are the figures appropriate and accurate? Are all illustrations necessary, or are additional figures needed?

11. Misconduct

Do you have any concerns about academic misconduct?

If you have any significant concerns, please let the Managing Editor know immediately. You may wish to do so in a confidential email only. The Managing Editor will always keep you informed of their responses and actions and will consult you before disclosing your concerns. Your name will not be disclosed (unless you request so).

12. Overall statement

I recommend the manuscript for publication with no revisions.

I recommend the manuscript for publication with minor revisions (at discretion of the editors).

I recommend the manuscript for publication with major revisions (resubmit to reviewers).

I do not recommend the manuscript for publication.

b) Comment to the author(s)

It is helpful to start your comment with a short summary (1–4 sentences) of the main contributions of the paper. To help you with structuring your review, you can consult the checklist above.

In the text field, please:

  • Comment at length on any deficiencies of the paper, suggesting where improvements could be made (including unclear and ambiguous sentences or paragraphs);
  • Provide adequate, clear reasons for any comments, suggestions, or recommendations. References are not required but may prove helpful;
  • Avoid personal bias. Read the paper for its own content;
  • Be constructive, not destructive. Suggest solutions for any criticisms raised;
  • Do not correct deficiencies in style or mistakes in grammar and spelling;
  • Target repetition and suggest how the manuscript could be made more concise;
  • Do not make any statements about whether the paper should be accepted or rejected.

Your report will be shared with the author, alongside the marked-up manuscript, should you return one.