Peer Reviewers’ Comments on Research Articles Submitted by Iranian Researchers

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of English Sheikhbahaee University


The invisible hands of peer reviewers play a determining role in the eventual fate of submissions to international English-medium journals. This study builds on the assumption that non-native researchers and prospective academic authors may find the whole strive for publication, and more specifically, the tough review process, less threatening if they are aware of journal reviewers’ expectations and requirements. Such awareness may be fostered by addressing the characteristics of review genre and the most frequent comments made by the reviewers. To address such typical features, a corpus of reviewers’ reports on 32 manuscripts submitted by Iranian researchers in three fields of Engineering, Medicine, and Social Sciences was analyzed. The results of the analysis revealed that review reports followed a certain format and structure and most of the comments made by reviewers were on the content-based defects such as procedural infelicities, poor study design or ignoring the literature. Language-use comments, including lexico-grammatical problems, lack of clarity, spelling mistakes, and verbosity, ranked second in terms of frequency but since content failure often overlaps language-related issues they appeared to be as important. These findings may be of help for graduate students and novice authors who need to develop and improve skills for academic writing as well as EAP practitioners who devote effort to furnish materials to aid researchers in writing publications in English.

Keywords: peer review process, reviewers’ reports, comment, content comment, language-use comment