Welcome to Peer Review, one of several Review Forums on h2g2. Peer Review is the part of h2g2 where you, the Community, help us to decide which Entries go into the Approved version of the site. The Peer Review process has four main steps:
Write Your Entry - a Researcher writes an Entry that is suitable for the Edited Guide: the Approved version of h2g2.
Submit Your Entry - the Researcher submits their Entry to Peer Review.
Read Others' Comments - other Researchers comment on the Entry and help the author to improve it.
Get Accepted - the Entry is Picked by a Scout, accepted by the h2g2 Guide Editors and heads off for inclusion in the Approved version of the site.
Peer Review is not the place for Entries that are unfinished, works in progress, rants, fiction, one-liners, jokes or personal theories.
Writing an Entry
If you're writing an Entry for Peer Review, it needs to be suitable for inclusion in the Approved part of the site. You can be sure of this by following our Writing Guidelines. Essentially, this means it should be truly well written, factual and informative.
In particular Researchers are much more likely to read Entries and comment on them if it's possible to read them in one sitting. As a general guide it's usually difficult to adequately cover a topic in less than 250 words. If your Entry is getting a bit lengthy (1,200 words or more) then it is likely to need dividing into sections with headers. If it is very lengthy (2,500 words or more) then you will need to consider splitting it into a series of Entries.
If your entry doesn't fit the guidelines but you'd still like to submit it, the Alternative Writing Workshop is the best place for the job.
You should check that your chosen subject isn't already covered by an existing Approved Entry1. You can do this by searching h2g2. If you would like to update an existing Approved Entry, you'll need to follow the procedure for Updating an Approved Entry.
You should make sure that the Entry is, as far as you are concerned, finished. If you're looking for a few final comments on an Entry that you haven't quite finished, or you would like others to contribute to your unfinished Entry, you might want to submit it to the Writing Workshop. Alternatively, just keep working on it until you're done, then submit it to Peer Review.
Submitting an Entry to Peer Review
Before submitting an Entry, make sure it fulfils the above requirements. To put an entry into Peer Review, click on the SUBMIT FOR REVIEW link to the right-hand column of the Entry and follow the instructions, choosing 'Peer Review' from the drop-down menu. If you cannot find the SUBMIT FOR REVIEW link, check that the 'Not for Review' box (visible when working on the Entry) isn't ticked.
Approved Entries, Help Pages, Personal Spaces, Entries already in a Review Forum and entries labelled 'Not for Review' cannot be submitted. Also, we'd ask that you don't submit other Researchers' Entries unless you've got a good reason.
Once you've submitted your Entry to Peer Review, it will stay there for at least seven days before a Scout can pick it. This allows time for Researchers to make comments and for you to make any changes recommended. If it looks like you'll need to make major changes to your Entry, the best thing to do is to take it out of Peer Review and resubmit it when it's ready.
Commenting in Peer Review
Before commenting on an Entry in Peer Review, you'll need to read the entry. To do this, click on the title in the list at the bottom of this page.
Once you've read the Entry, don't click on START A CONVERSATION at the bottom of the entry. Instead, click the 'Currently In: Peer Review' link on the right-hand side of the Entry. This will take you to the Peer Review comment thread, where you can add your comments by clicking 'Reply' to the last posting.
Before you comment on an entry in Peer Review, consider the following points:
Is it the author's first Entry? (You can check their Personal Space to find out). If so, be gentle in your criticism - if they're really going wrong you may wish to direct them to the Writing Guidelines. Remember, everyone wrote their first Entry once!
Have you checked the comments other Researchers have made? If you have spotted a mistake or omission, it might already have been pointed out by someone else.
If you like the Entry - say so! Everyone likes compliments.
Simply posting 'I hated this, it's rubbish' doesn't give the author much of a clue what they may be doing wrong. If you don't like it, try to make your criticism specific.
Wherever possible, try to help the Researcher get the grammar and spelling as accurate as possible. While we have volunteer Sub-editors who polish entries before publication, it never hurts to get the Entry as 'right' as possible early on. This will also help your chances of having the Entry Approved.
Ask yourself if you actually understand the Entry. Approved Entries are aimed, in the main, at the educated layman, so if you didn't understand it, it may be a failing of the author. On the other hand, it might well be you, so don't be afraid to tactfully ask for an explanation.
Try not to head off on tangents or drift away from discussion of the entry. If there's a burning need to debate anything other than the Entry, please start another Conversation elsewhere.
Stay subscribed to the thread; once you've commented, keep an eye on what others are saying. It may be the start of an interesting Conversation.
If the Entry gets picked – particularly if it is the author's first – pop back and congratulate the author.
Having Your Entry Accepted
Once your Entry has been in Peer Review for seven days, it can be Picked by a Scout for inclusion in the Approved Guide. Scouts will only pick Entries that have no outstanding corrections, so it's useful to point out when you've made any changes and are happy with your Entry as it stands. The time taken for an Entry to be picked varies hugely, so do be patient.
If you'd like to know about the next stage in the editorial process after a Scout has Picked your Entry, then check out What happens after my Entry has been Picked by a Scout?