Become a Journal of Marriage and Family Reviewer

Researchers: Sign up to become a reviewer at JMF's Manuscript Central page.

JMF Reviewer Obligations and Opportunities

The essential task of a Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF) reviewer is to provide a critique and evaluation that is

  • Prompt
  • Constructive
  • Thoughtful
  • Fair

The essential goal of the peer-review process is to maximize the quality of published research in a field of scholarly inquiry. Remember as you write your review that you have obligations to three audiences: (a) the editor of the journal, (b) the author(s) of the paper, and (c) scholars who are doing research in this field.
The editor of the journal relies on reviewers who will be thorough, prompt, and fair. The editor expects to be provided with detailed but concise assessments of manuscript quality; a clear recommendation about whether the paper should be rejected, revised, or accepted; and feedback to authors that will be helpful in crafting a revision (or submission to another journal). The editor expects you to extend your expertise--not every article sent to you for review will be squarely within your primary area of specialization.

The authors rely on reviewers to be constructive, reasoned, explicit, and ethical. A submitted manuscript is confidential: Do not discuss it; do not copy it, do not quote it. Identify both the strengths and the weaknesses of the paper. Be aware of your biases or preferences. Do not be superficial or dismissive. Focus on those limitations that are serious threats to the internal and external validity of the study. Think of yourself as an unpaid consultant to the authors. Consider how you can help them to improve their study and write in this spirit of constructive criticism. Above all remember the golden rule of reviewing: Do unto these authors as you would have them do unto you as an author.

Other scholars rely on reviewers to maximize the quality of research published in their field. Journals are perhaps the single most important vehicle for dissemination of research findings. As a reviewer, you are helping to set the standard for quality. You have the opportunity to advance the quality of research in your field, to update your awareness of current research, and to learn new knowledge and skills. Being a manuscript reviewer is one of the best and most effective ways to continue your own education as a scholar.

Source for Additional Reading:

Epstein, S (1995). What can be done to improve the journal review process. American Psychologist, 50, 883 - 884.