Reviewing Guidelines

IAFOR depends on the assistance of a large number of international academics and practitioners who contribute in a variety of ways to our shared mission of promoting international exchange, facilitating intercultural awareness, encouraging interdisciplinary discussion and generating and sharing new knowledge. With thousands of abstracts submitted each year for presentation at our conferences, IAFOR is committed to ensuring a fair and timely peer review process in keeping with established international norms of double-blind peer review, and in this we rely on the assistance of academics around the world. We are grateful for the time, effort and expertise donated by all our contributors.

Reviewer Selection

IAFOR's peer review process, which involves both reciprocal review and the use of Review Committees, is overseen by the Conference Programme Committee under the guidance of the International Academic Board. The majority of reviewers are established academics who hold PhDs or other terminal degrees in their fields, who have had an abstract accepted for presentation at an IAFOR conference and who have previous peer review experience.

Reviewers may also be academics or scholars who have agreed to referee, including those who have volunteered their services by contacting IAFOR. If you would like to be considered to serve on the ACAS Review Committee, please visit our application page.

Abstract Review Process

IAFOR operates a system of double-blind peer review. A submitted abstract is assessed by at least two reviewers.

When abstracts are submitted, they are immediately reviewed in-house to see if they conform to accepted academic norms, and to screen out incomplete, out-of-scope, poorly written, or time-wasting submissions.

All abstracts which have passed this initial screening are then assigned to two reviewers through the online system. Each reviewer is asked to read the abstract and grade it on a scale of 1 to 5 via the system below. The five assessment categories as follows:

5 – Excellent
4 – Good
3 – Average
2 – Poor or Borderline Acceptable
1 – Very Poor

Assessment Category Definitions

5 – Excellent
The abstract is clear, concise and excellently written. The content is deemed to be relevant, thought-provoking and timely. The abstract is considered worthy of presentation.

4 – Good
The abstract is clear, concise and well written. The content is deemed to be relevant, thought-provoking and timely. The abstract is considered worthy of presentation.

3 – Average
The abstract is well written but there may be problems in clarity and presentation. The content is deemed to be relevant and timely, although may be less thought-provoking than in proposals considered “Excellent” or “Good”. The abstract is considered worthy of presentation.

2 – Poor or Borderline Acceptable
The abstract may be reasonably well written but there may be problems with clarity and presentation and/or questions as to the pertinence and originality of the abstract. There may also be problems of comprehension. The abstract may be considered worthy of presentation if certain revisions are made. The reviewer may suggest revisions are made before it is considered worthy of presentation.

1 – Very Poor
The abstract may be considered to contain unoriginal work, or may not be relevant to the conference in question. Language and comprehension difficulties may render the text difficult to follow. The reviewer does not consider the abstract worthy of presentation, and does not believe that a simple reworking would resolve the issues.

Acceptance/Rejection Process

The points assigned by the two reviewers are combined. In order for abstracts to be accepted, they must gain a score of 6 or above in the assessment system following the results of two reviews (out of a maximum of 10 points), or a score of 7 and above if sent to a third reviewer (from a maximum of 10 points), as follows:

Automatic Acceptance
If both reviewers consider the abstract “Average”, “Good”, or “Excellent” in any combination (combined total of 6-10 points out of a possible 10), then the abstract is accepted for presentation.

Automatic Rejection
If both reviewers consider the abstract “Very Poor” or “Reject” (combined points total of 2 or less of a possible 10), then the abstract is rejected.

Third Reviewer’s Opinion Requested
If the abstract is considered “Poor/Borderline Acceptable” by both reviewers, then the abstract is forwarded to a third reviewer for evaluation. If the third reviewer considers the abstract “Average” or above, then it is accepted. If the third reviewer finds the abstract “Poor/Borderline Acceptable” or below, then the abstract is rejected.

If there is a marked discrepancy resulting in one reviewer giving a passing grade and another a failing grade, then the opinion of a third reviewer is sought. For example, one reviewer considers the abstract “Excellent/Good/Average”, and the other considers it “Poor/Borderline Acceptable” or below. In this case, if the third reviewer considers it “Excellent/Good/Average”, then it is accepted. If the third reviewer considers it “Poor/Borderline Acceptable” or below then it is rejected.

Notification of Acceptance or Rejection

Authors are usually informed of acceptance or rejection within four weeks of abstract submission. Accepted authors will receive an email notifying them of the results, as well as an official letter of acceptance as a PDF.

Assessment Criteria

The following assessment criteria may act as a guide when reviewing abstracts, and these should be taken into account as the reviewer decides. In some cases, any issues with presentation of the argument or clarity of the English may be outweighed by the importance of the topic. In other cases, issues with research design and analysis may lead to the rejection of an abstract that is otherwise acceptable. Alternatively, the argument or hypothesis is of significant interest, so as to outweigh the weaknesses.

Quality of Presentation
Is the abstract clearly written? Can the study aims, methods and findings be easily understood?

Quality of Research Design and Data Analysis
Is the study design clearly described? Are sampling procedures adequately described, including inclusion and exclusion criteria? Is there potential selection bias? Are the measures reliable and valid? Are possible confounding factors addressed? Are the statistical analyses appropriate for the study design?

Are the conclusions clearly stated? How well are the conclusions supported by the data? Are conclusions overstated in relation to the results?

Though sometimes difficult to gauge in just 250 words, it is possible to appraise whether novel concepts or approaches were used, whether the study challenges existing paradigms, or involves development of new methodologies. If the abstract presents an extension or a replication of previous work, does the new study build on the previous ones? Does it therefore add genuinely new information to current knowledge, or strengthen previous findings that were limited by their small sample sizes or other study design issues?

Does the abstract address an important issue? How does the study advance scientific knowledge? What effect do the results have on the concepts or methods that drive progress in the field? Are the results and conclusions strong enough to influence the behaviour of researchers, educators and policymakers?

Reviewer Guide & FAQ

Why have I been assigned this abstract?

We consider you qualified to assess the abstract based on the information we have received from you. You may be the author of an abstract accepted for presentation at an IAFOR conference, or a volunteer who has provided us with these details.

How do I review an abstract?

  1. Log into the review system using your email address and the password you chose when you registered. If there is an abstract available to review it will appear on your log-in menu. Select this abstract to start. Once the review form is open, the system allows you 45 minutes to complete the review.
  2. Please take the time to read the abstract slowly, as many times as you need, paying attention to academic rigour, clarity, concision, interest, relevance to the conference, precision, etc., in the light of the five assessment categories listed above and the assessment criteria listed below.
  3. After reading the abstract, decide on the grade you would like to assign and enter this into the review form, along with your comments and recommendations. Please ensure that any comments are phrased respectfully.
  4. Click "Submit" to submit your review.

How long do I have to review an abstract?

Once you have selected an abstract to review you will have 45 minutes to complete the review.

How can I decline to review an abstract?

We aim to assign abstracts based on areas of expertise. If you do not feel you are an appropriate reviewer for the abstract click "Return to the main menu without saving" to select a different abstract.

How can I declare a conflict of interest?

If you do not feel comfortable assessing the abstract – for example, if you suspect based on the topic that the author may be known to you personally – please click "Return to the main menu without saving" to select a different abstract.

Am I required to leave comments?

Yes – entering comments is a required part of the review process. Comments must be a minimum of 30 characters in length. The primary job of the reviewer is to give a simple appraisal of the work in accordance with the grading categories. Reviewers ​are asked to provide constructive criticism​ when commenting on submissions (up to 250 words)​.

Will my comments be passed on to the author(s)?

Reviewer comments are not automatically passed on to the author. If an abstract is rejected the author does not receive details of why, as this can result in lengthy and unproductive correspondence. In some cases, authors may need their scores and comments in order to secure funding from their institutions, in which case comments may be passed on. However, the reviewer will always remain anonymous, and personal details will never be passed on.

Can I contact the author directly?

Please do not enter into direct correspondence with the author of a submitted abstract or otherwise reveal your identity to the author under any circumstances. This minimises potential for possible conflict.