Deciding What to Publish

Deciding what to publish, and describing the decision criteria and review process is critical to your publication. Your publication should have a public statement about how decisions are made regarding what to include in the publication. This should be related to your scope of content for your publication.

A clear statement of your selection and review criteria helps make transitions among editors and reviewers go more smoothly. It is important to describe the review processes, to make it clear if this includes peer review, or if it consists of editorial review by members of the editorial board, and how long it takes to hear if a contribution has been accepted. It also helps you solicit materials and engage contributors, because people know what review criteria you will be applying.

Editorial review is the more common approach in student-led publishing, although some publications may use peer review. Your criteria can be very brief or quite elaborate. You should state whether your editorial review process includes making suggestions for revisions to the work.  You should be able to justify accepting as is, accepting with revisions, or rejecting a contribution.

Criteria should cover at least these points:

  1. Does the work need to original?
  2. Does the work need to be unpublished?
  3. Does the work fit the scope of the publication?
  4. Is it clearly written?
  5. Does the writing match expectations in the fields covered by the publication?
  6. Does it contribute to the kinds of communication intended by the publication?
  7. Does the work have all the expected components for this publication, such as references to the relevant literature if it is a research article.