21 Peer Review

Peer Review

Another way you will be working in groups or pairs is through peer review, which is an opportunity for you to give and receive peer feedback on your papers before you turn them in to be graded by your TA.  Writing is a form of communication and a peer can tell you whether or not your paper makes sense.  It is to your advantage to take seriously your responsibility to review a peer’s paper.  We find that the review process benefits the reviewer as well as the author because it gives you practice evaluating a paper applying the same criteria your TA will use to evaluate your paper.

Note that you do not need to wait for us to assign a formal review to take advantage of the peer review process.  You can always get together with another student and act as reviewers for each other’s papers even when it is not required as part of an assignment!

Peer review is a skill that takes practice. Use the following criteria when you are learning how to peer review. In order to help you become a more skilled peer reviewer, we will ask you to hand in your peer review comments to be evaluated by your TA. Your TA will use these same criteria to evaluate your peer review.

Peer Review Rubric





Focus on “Global Concerns” (larger structural, logic/reasoning issues) rather than detailed “Local Concerns” (spelling, grammar, formatting) Does not identify missing components.

Comments are restricted to spelling, grammar, formatting and general editing.

Identifies most components as present or absent.

One or two global concerns comments on a paper that required more focus there. Major comments are focused at the local concerns/ editing level.

Can identify all components of paper as present or absent. Provides logical and well reasoned critique. Recognizes logic leaps and missed opportunities to make connections between parts of paper.   Provides a good balance of comments addressing ‘global concerns’ together with minor comments addressing ‘local concerns’
Thorough constructive critique including a balance* of positive and negative comments Review is entirely positive or negative with little support or reasoning provided. Good comments, but not balanced as positive and negative or not supported with reasoning Supports author’s efforts with sincere, encouraging remarks giving them a foundation on which to build for subsequent papers. Critical comments are tactfully written.
Evidence of thorough reading and review of paper Comments focused on one or two distinct issues, but not on the overall reasoning and connectedness of all sections in paper.   Obvious that reviewer did not read the entire paper or skimmed through to quickly to understand. Evidence that the reviewer read the entire paper, but did not provide thorough review. Comments on all parts of paper and connections between paper sections. Comments are clear, specific, and offer suggestions for revision rather than simply labeling a problem. Appropriate comment density demonstrates the reviewer’s investment in peer review, while not overwhelming the writer.
Outlines both general and specific areas that need improvement and provides suggestions Review is too general to guide authors revision or too specific to help author on subsequent papers Provides both general and specific comments but no suggestions on how to improve. Supplies author with productive comments, both general and specific, for areas of improvement. General comments are those that authors may use in subsequent papers, whereas specific comments pertain to the specific paper topic and assignment. Comments come with suggestions for improvement.

Download Biocore rubrics in PDF format



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Process of Science Companion: Science Communication by University of Wisconsin-Madison Biology Core Curriculum (Biocore) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book