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Places Peer Review Guidelines


Scholarly articles on Places are distinguished from other types of content, such as essays, slideshows and reviews, in that they have passed through a rigorous process of double-blind peer review. These articles are clearly identified and appear under the Peer Reviewed rubric.

We submit scholarly articles to two or more reviewers based on their knowledge of a subject and familiarity with Places’ editorial focus. While we do not reveal reviewers’ names to authors, we do share some or all of their comments, along with editorial direction based on the reviews.

Scholars who would like to submit an article, please see our submission guidelines. The guidelines for reviewers are presented below to help elucidate the process.

Guidelines for Reviewers

Places Journal, which is now fully online and published in partnership with Design Observer, seeks not only to uphold but also to raise the standards of published scholarship. We look to you, our reviewers, to evaluate submitted work to ensure that any article accepted for publication meets rigorous intellectual standards and constitutes a significant contribution to the field. Your primary role is to judge whether an article is worth the attention of your peers. Would you strongly recommend to your peers? If not, do not recommend it for publication in Places.

Your secondary role is to provide guidance to authors and assist them in improving their work. Specific suggestions are extremely helpful; so is candor. It is far more helpful to reject a weak paper outright — while stating clearly why it is weak and making concrete suggestions for how it might be improved — than to offer authors the false hope of acceptance when you believe that major improvements are essential.

Places' review process is double-blind. Your name will not be revealed to the author(s), though most, if not all, of your comments will be shared with them to provide editorial direction or helpful advice.

Your answers to the following questions will help both the author and the editors at Places determine appropriate action.

1. Places seeks articles that bridge between the academy and the professions and enlarge the constituency for serious scholarship about the contemporary built environment, beyond what has traditionally been a highly internalized discourse with limited impact. In that light: How important and relevant is the topic of this article to Places’ core readership of academics and professionals in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning and related disciplines? Is it also accessible to a broader audience, which includes influential figures in government, NGOs, social enterprise and environmental organizations, arts and cultural institutions, and media?

2. Would the article’s relevance be enhanced by offering more depth and detail for those with specialized knowledge, or more context for a less specialized but highly sophisticated readership?

3. Does the article make a substantive contribution to its particular area? Is there additional professional and/or scholarly literature and research that should be referenced or considered to improve the article?

4. Does it construct a clear and compelling argument? Is it well structured? If not, please be very specific about where and why the argument is muddled, and where it needs better organization or clearer elucidation.

5. Is it well written? Is the overall tone sophisticated and accessible, rigorous and eloquent? Or not?

6. What is the strongest and most interesting aspect of this article?

7. What is the weakest aspect of this article, that is, what in particular is holding it back from achieving real excellence. Can the problem be easily fixed? If so, please explain how.

8. Is the length of the article appropriate to the topic and to Places (in which scholarly articles range from approximately 3,500 to 8,000 words)? If the article is lengthy, is this justified by its depth, significance and overall achievement? Or does the article seem too brief and sketchy? In these respective cases, what parts of the article would you recommend omitting or further elaborating?

9. Do you have other specific recommendations?

10. In sum, what do you recommend?
  • Accept for publication as is or with minor editorial revisions. This recommendation should be reserved strictly for well-resolved articles that already meet high intellectual standards.
  • Accept for publication contingent upon successful completion of several specific suggested revisions.
  • Reject but allow future resubmission after major revisions, redevelopment and rewriting.
  • Reject as unacceptable/inappropriate for the journal.
  • DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS