Guidelines and Principles: Peer Reviewers


Early Theatre submission, peer review, and editorial processes work to support and improve the new work that authors send to the journal. Double anonymous peer review is central to Early Theatre’s commitment to fostering new research while ensuring the quality of the scholarship we publish. We are committed to a constructive, rigorous peer review process. We ask peer reviewers to uphold these principles by following the guidelines outlined below.   

Process and Timelines

For the sake of rigour and consistency, and in order to mitigate unconscious bias, the journal uses a standardized, independent, fully anonymous peer-review process. Author names and identifying information will be absent from reviewed manuscripts; reader reports will also be anonymized by default. The editors will take named responsibility for final reports to authors. However, we encourage peer reviewers to consider identifying themselves after the peer review process has been completed, if and when they believe it is appropriate and safe to do so. If you would like the journal to inform the author(s) of your identity in a decision letter, please indicate this choice as part of your peer review report in the notes to the editor section (see Key Points for Preparing Your Review Report below). 

We ask readers to return reports within four weeks of receiving the request to review, but we also work to negotiate deadlines around individual circumstances. Early Theatre is committed to timely communication with authors, in recognition of the impact on careers that delayed responses can have. If at any point you find yourself unable to complete the review by the agreed-upon deadline, please contact the editors as soon as possible so that a new reader can be appointed promptly.

If you have any questions while preparing your report, please do not hesitate to contact the editors at We especially urge reviewers to contact the editors if they have any concerns about a manuscript or have questions regarding potential conflicts of interest.

Out of respect for the intellectual property of researchers submitting work to the journal, scholars contacted about peer reviewing must treat each submission as confidential: they must not cite the manuscript or refer to the work it describes before it has been published. They must also delete copies of all unpublished submissions. 

Key Points for Preparing Your Review Report:

  1. Please use your own judgment about the appropriate length of your appraisal. Typically, manuscript assessments for Early Theatre are 300 to 500 words long.
  2. We suggest that you type up your report in a wordprocessing file, save the file to your computer, and then copy and paste your comments into our website's online review form.
    1. The first window will be for comments to the editors and the author.
    2. The second window will be for comments addressed to the editors only. Please use this section to offer advice to the editors and to provide guidance about whether you wish the journal to release or keep confidential your identity once the review process is completed. 
  3. Please assess the article's originality, thesis, argumentation, engagement with relevant scholarship, and overall readability
  4. Keeping in mind our goal of providing supportive, rigorous feedback, reports should offer constructive criticism. Comments designed for the author should be expressed in clear, respectful, and objective terms.
  5. If your report identifies problems with a submission, we encourage you to suggest potential solutions. For example, citations should be accurate, appropriate, and thorough: if you think an essay needs to engage directly with recent scholarship on a particular topic, please suggest examples of published work the author should consult.  
  6. Please do not feel the need to copy-edit for grammar or style. The editors do, however, welcome constructive suggestions regarding clarity of expression (for example, specific feedback about phrasing that aids or hinders the submission’s argumentation). 
  7. The editors will not forward reader reports that are dismissive, aggressive, prejudicial, or otherwise inappropriate towards the author(s) or their research, and the journal will not approach such readers again.

You will be asked to register one of the following recommendations using the dropdown menu:

  1. Accept Submission: No revisions or minor revisions only (as indicated in the reader report) required;
  2. Revisions Required: The submission requires revisions that can likely be reviewed and accepted by the editors without needing to be vetted through another round of peer review;
  3. Resubmit for Review: The submission shows promise but requires extensive revisions or significant rethinking; it will need to be reassessed through another round of peer review;
  4. Decline Submission: The submission has too many significant weaknesses and should be rejected without an option to resubmit;
  5. See Comments: If none of the above recommendations make sense for a particular submission, please leave a comment for the editors detailing your concerns and suggesting a recommended course of action.

You may be invited to review a resubmitted version of the same article if recommending Resubmit for Review.

If you have annotated your copy of the submission for the author’s benefit, please send your version of the file to us and we will forward it to the author(s). 

Communication of Decision

Following receipt of recommendations from peer reviewers, the editors will come to a collective decision about appropriate next steps, and then communicate the journal’s decision to the author(s). Note that the editors will use the external reports as guidance and may incorporate them partially or in full when writing the decision letter sent to the author.

To help develop best practices in peer review, the editors will report the decision back to reviewers while protecting the author’s/authors' identity.