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Policies and Procedures for Refereed Articles

See also instructions for:

List of Referees
  1. SCOPE

    ISTL publishes substantive material of interest to science and technology librarians. It serves as a vehicle for sci-tech librarians to share details of successful programs, materials for the delivery of information services, background information and opinions on topics of current interest, to publish research and bibliographies on issues in science and technology libraries, and to communicate in more depth than the STS-L mailing list.


    All articles to be considered for review are to be submitted directly to the Refereed Articles (RA) Editor, Buffy Choinski ( All submissions must be made electronically. Preferred formats are Microsoft Word or ASCII text.

    The RA Editor will to see to it that the author or senior author receives an acknowledgement of the receipt of his or her article submission.

    The RA Editor is responsible for the review process. All decisions regarding publication of refereed articles rest with the RA Editor.

    No letter or article received unsigned shall be published.

    The job of the referees and the RA Editor is to decide on the suitability of refereed articles for publication. The Editor and Editorial Board Members may be consulted.

    The RA Editor will contact authors regarding the outcome of the review process.


    The RA Editor shall select at least two referees who are competent.

    It shall be clearly stated by the RA Editor to each referee that the recipient is a formal referee and that his or her comments and opinions, with those of other formal referees, will form the basis upon which the RA Editor will decide whether or not to publish the paper, and with what changes.

    The RA Editor shall state that the referee is expected to return comments and opinions within a specified time, not longer than thirty days or else the RA Editor will forward the article to another referee. The RA Editor shall supply referees with recommended review guidelines.

    ISTL policy requires that referees treat the contents of papers under review as privileged information not to be disclosed to others before publication. The RA Editor shall ensure that reviewers are aware of this policy. All reviews will be blind.


    The RA Editor examines the comments of the referees and exercises his or her own best judgement, in light of the referees' recommendations, on whether or not to publish. Referees comments are to be returned to the author in any case. The RA Editor assures that the anonymity of the referees is protected during this process.


    Referees can recommend acceptance, acceptance with minor changes, acceptance with major (mandatory) changes, or rejection of the article. In all cases, authors will have the referees' comments to work from and may contact the RA Editor for clarification.

Evaluation of Article for ISTL

Thank you for agreeing to review the attached article for Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. Please include the article number {NUMBER} in the subject line of all email concerning this article. Please return the completed evaluation to the RA Editor by {DATE}.

Your comments, along with those of one or more other referees will form the basis upon which the RA Editor will decide on whether to publish this article in ISTL. Comments MUST be provided where appropriate. Referees must communicate to the author what modifications are necessary before the paper can be accepted or what specific reasons resulted in the rejection of the article for ISTL. Please keep in mind that the contents of the article are completely CONFIDENTIAL. Referees names will not be revealed to the authors.

With regard to the article, answer the following questions with Yes, No, or NA (not applicable). Where pertinent, make specific comments immediately below the question.


  1. Is the scope of the article appropriate for ISTL?
  2. Is this a new and original contribution?
  3. Is the information in the article useful?
  4. Does the title clearly reflect the article's content?
  5. Does the abstract adequately summarize the article's content?
  6. Is the paper written in a style that is easy to understand?
  7. Is the information in the paper arranged in a logical sequence?
  8. Is the bibliography accurate? Check to be sure that citations appearing in the paper also appear in the bibliography and vice versa.
  9. Is the objective of the paper clearly stated in the introduction?
  10. Is the background information given in the introduction relevant to the objective?

For Research Papers:

  1. Were valid methods used to study the problem?
  2. Are data presented clearly?
  3. Do illustrations or figures complement the text rather than repeat what is in the text?
  4. Is the interpretation of the data logical?
  5. Has the author considered alternative explanations for the data?
  6. Has the author discussed the results in comparison with other published research?

For Case Study Papers:

  1. Does the study relay new information?
  2. Are the procedures easy to understand? Is the study presented in a logical order?
  3. Does the author compare this work with other published works?

For bibliographies/webliographies:

  1. Is the bib/webliography unique?
  2. Is it useful to Sci/tech libraries/librarians?
  3. Is the bib/webliography logically organized and easily navigable?
  4. Does the author explain the scope and purpose of the bib/webliography? (e.g., is subject treated comprehensively or selectively; is subject of bib/webliography well defined)
  5. Does the bib/webliography conform to the stated scope and purpose?
  6. Are the links accurate/current?
  7. Are there resources that should be added or deleted?
  8. Are the annotations accurate?

Other Comments:


The article
( ) is acceptable in present form or with minor revisions as indicated.
( ) should be reconsidered after major revisions as indicated.
( ) is unacceptable for the reasons indicated

Updated: April 8, 2014

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