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N.B. This is a new system, and so wrinkles will need to be ironed out.  Please provide feedback on any aspect of this review system - the way it works, this page, etc.

Coaching reviews
Also consult the review process page carefully:


The usual system for many journals is double-blind, peer review.  This means that people of similar standing to you (peers) review your article, but you do not know who they are and they do not know who you, author, is.  However, S&G receives ms from many types authors - from a variety of disciplines, countries, professions, academic traditions, cultures, and so on.  In addition, some people question the validity of double-blind reviews, saying that they do not necessarily help to produce the best quality articles.

S&G therefore operates what I call a coaching review process.  The review of version 1 of your ms will still remain double blind.  However, after you have revised v1 of your ms to produce version 2, you and your reviewers may get to know each others names.  The reviewer will then 'take you by the hand', as it were, and guide you through the revision process, giving you feedback directly.  The reviewer will become your coach.

This has generally resulted in higher quality articles. This may be due to the simple fact that personal interaction motivates, that knowing who the reviewer and author are and interaction with each other encourage greater engagement in the writing and review process.  If things are not clear below, make an intelligent guess and go ahead, but do indicate to me.



Some of the advantages of a coaching review process include:

  • More direct communication between author and reviewer.

  • Higher quality articles.

  • Faster returns, and thus publication in less time.

  • More implication by both authors and reviewers.

  • Greater satisfaction on the part of all players (authors, reviewers, editor).

  • Authors may make new contacts through this process.

Structure & rules

However, a coaching review system  requires adherence to a clear structure and your diligence in following the structure in a detailed way.  This is important for two reasons.  First, the coaching review process will only work and help you produce a high quality article if the procedures are followed to the letter.  Second, the reviewers themselves do their work voluntarily; they get little reward for difficult work from which you, not they, benefit.  Following procedures will help your coaching reviewers to to do their work, which benefits you in improving the quality of your article.


Overview of structure & procedure








your ms

A.  Send anonymous ms to the editor.


B.  Ed chooses reviewers.


C.  Ms is reviewed double blind.

- - - - - - -



D.  Ed decides path to follow (reject, revise, v2 (coaching or blind), f, etc.

Reviewers send their reviews to Ed

- - - - - - -

v2 of
your ms

E.  If Ed asks for v2, for 2nd round of reviews, author prepares v2 of ms, with reviews and responses at ms start.


Ed decides on blind or coaching review.  If coaching, then Ed sends v2, or Ed asks author, to send v2 to reviewer-coach.

F1. Reviewer-coach reviews v2 seen.

- - - - - - -


H.  Author prepares f or v3 of ms:

f            or            v3

G.  Editor may add comments to the reviewers'.  Editor will decide if author needs to prepare v3 or if author can go to final version.

F2. Reviewer sends their review of v2 directly to author, with CC to editor.

- - - - - - -


  If v3, author sends v3 directly to reviewers with CC to editor (as v2 above).


Reviewer-coach reviews v3 seen.

- - - - - - -


Ed may add comments to the reviewers'.  Ed will decide if author can go to final version.

Reviewer sends their reviews of v3 directly to author, with CC to editor.
- - - - - - -
f Author prepares final version based on reviews and Ed comments, including author responses (send to Editor).
Ed will ask you to prepare the final version for publication.      

Detailed steps and instructions

Please read this carefully, and follow the steps.  (Draft only from here on.)

Round 1

Blind review


A. Prepare an anonymous v1 of your ms.  Send to editor.  Makes sure that the ms filename is correct, and that you include all the elements in body of email: check list for drafts, cover sheet, exclusivity letter.  More details here.


B. I will select 1 to 3 reviewers, and send to them your anonymous ms.


C. The reviewers will send me back their commentaries and recommendations.


D. I will decide on one of four routes (a) continue the blind review process, (b) move to a coaching review process, (c) reject the article, (d) invite you to prepare the final version (rare).  If (b), then we will go to the next round below.



Round 2

Move to coaching review process; prepare v2


E.  Prepare a named v2 of your ms.  See below for elements to include.  Send v2 to your coaches (reviewers indicated by editor).

  • Your ms v2 will include: reviews of v1, with your (author's) responses, and the new revised version (v2) of your msDo not indicate which reviewer did which commentary.  Use the reviewer id, usually of the form RevA, RevB, etc.

  • Send your intro letter to each reviewer independently, with CC to the editor for each.  (It is best at this point, that reviewers do not know each others' ids.)  You will know them, and they you.  But it is only at the end that they should know each other.  This is to avoid incluence on each other, thus your getting as wide a spectrum of views as possible.

  • Then send v2 of your ms to each reviewer independently, attached to your email.  Do not CC me.

  • In all emails, use the correct subject line, with the ms ID, with reviewer ID, such as RevA

  • Do not send the check list at this point.


F.  The reviewers will send back their commentaries and recommendations, to you directly, and CC to me.


G.  I may send you further comments.  For example, if two reviewers vary widely in their assessments, or if I wish to emphasize something (e.g., clarify the debriefing process).

  • I will also indicate whether or not you need to prepare v3 of your article, or if you can prepare the final version.

  • Split opinion:  It may be that one reviewer would like to see v3, but that another reviewer thinks that the article can now be published.  In this case, I will probably, ask you to go for v3, but then you need to send it only to the reviewer requesting v3.

Round 3

Prepare v3 or final version


H.  Depending on returns from the reviewers in round 2, prepare v3 or final version.

  • If reviewers want v3, then follow procedure as in round 2 (above).
    You will need to wait until all the reviewers are in in order to fanalize v3.  I may add some comments to those of the reviewers.

  • If reviewers think that you can prepare the final version, then contact me before preparing and sending the final version.  In any case, the final version needs to contain your responses to reviewers at the start of the ms.


of elements to include

Author See below the elements to include


Some guideline for playing the coaching reviews game


The main advantage of a coaching review is that you will do a better article.  However, that will only work if you follow the procedures closely and carefully.  It will also work much better if your attitude is one of striving to improve, or focussing on quality, or seeking and accepting reviewers' help.  Doing this will help your coaching reviewers to do their work, and thus to provide you with the best possible counsel on improving your article.

To help make the system work well and to help your reviewers, please use the following some guidelines:

  • Contact your reviewers as little as possible outside the usual times (see above).  Only contact your reviewers exceptionally if it is really warranted.

  • Provide reviewers with complete emails, ms files, documents, etc. (as outlined below and elsewhere in this guide).

  • Send reviewers reminders only when they are very late.  Give them 50% more time than is indicated on the evaluation form (usually 1 month) or than they have agreed to.  Reviewers may tell you in advance that they will need more time.

  • Revise you ms as fully as you are able, according to your reviewers recommendations.

  • Provide clear responses and revisions lists to reviews (and include them at the start of your ms, as indicated below).

  • Respect reviewers' opinions about your ms.  Usually, if you have moved to round 2 and to a coaching review, it means that your ms has real potential for publication.  You should not therefore be in a situation where you know the identity of someone who rejects your ms.

  • If you disagree with with reviewer, do not write a book in reply.  Be succinct.  Place your comment in the appropriate place in your responses.

  • Remember that your coaches are busy, that they do this work with little benefit.

  • Remember that your reviewers' view of your article is much closer to that of a journal reader than to your own view.  It is difficult to see one's one writing and drafts in the same was as an objective, outside reader.  If a reviewer does not understand, it is far more likely that it is because of a problem in your ms than because of the reviewer.

  • Ask yourself: "Do I want to do a high quality article?", "Do I want other people to cite my article?".

  • Keep a sense of modesty or humility.

  • Write for the reader, not for you.

  • Be sure to include relevant references to the literature, particularly article published in S&G.  Reviewers often 'complain' that authors have not referred to the relevant S&G literature.  Better to do this at the outset, rather to have to change rework a later version of the article.

  • When you prepare your final version, be sure to include acknowledgement to your reviewers, especially if they were particularly helpful.

  • Do not put pressure in any way on your reviewers.  For example, do not say "I hope the article is now ready for publication".  Say "I would be happy to get more comments about how to improve the article further".

  • After you receive the published article, make sure that you send a copy to your reviewers, and confirm with me that you gave done this.


Summary of elements to include in v2 and v3 of your ms.

It is important to adhere strictly to the following.  Your objective is to make it as easy as possible for your reviewer to do her or his work.  Normally, you will send only one single email with one single word attachment.  The contents of each are summarized below.  Make sure that each contains the correct elements.


Inside email (in this order):

  1. Short letter to reviewer.

  2. Copy of blank evaluation form.  I will have sent sent you this when I sent you comments from round 1, and indicate to you that you will move to a coaching review process.  (If I forgot to send it, remind me.  Do not use the version on this web site.)

  3. Check list for drafts (ignore items concerning your anonymity) for all items that you have done.  Do not tick (check) items that you have not done!

Inside your attached word file (.doc; do not use .docx, word for vista):

Construct a single word file, with the following elements in the following order.

  1. Review of RevA (first reviewer) + your responses (+ revision list).

    Include here your responses to the reviewer and the list of revisions that you have made to the previous version of your ms.

    • You can place your responses be at the end of the review or insert them into at appropriate points in the review.

    • Make sure that you demarcate your text clearly from the reviewer's (e.g., using italics or colour).  When you include this element, include only the reviewer's commentary  (not the form text, not the evaluation grid and not the publication recommendation).

    • If you received from your reviewer, the review inside a word file, then paste it into your single ms word file.

      • If the reviewer's word file contains large chunks of embedded comments in different places, then paste these in sequence into your single word file, if necessary indicating the section of your ms to which the review chuck refers.

      • If the reviewer's word file contains a small number small but substantive (content) chunks of comments in different places, then paste the main ones into your single word file, if necessary indicating the section of your ms to which the review chuck refers.  No need to paste the formatting or style comments, but you need to attend to these in your new ms. 

      • If the reviewer's word file contains a large number of small chunks of comments in different places, then attach this old ms after your new ms.

  2. Review of RevB (second reviewer) + your responses.  Same as above.

  3. Review of RevC (third reviewer) + your responses.  Same as above.

  4. Use clear visual separator, e.g., ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++, not 'new page'.

  5. Your ms:  Title, author(s), abstract, keywords, text.

    • Include diagrams, graphics, etc. inside your word file.  Do not attach as separate files; this is for the final version.

    • Do not include bio-statements or contact details at end; this is for the final version only.

    • Use the check list for more info.

    • Filename in correct format.

The guiding principle is to make the material as easy as possible for your reviewer to access and to follow.


Acknowledgement:  My thanks go to Richard Teach for the idea of a coaching review.