Peer review process

This journal is committed to openness and transparency. In the humanities, personal bias inevitably affects a scholar’s interest and lines of enquiry. It inevitably reflects different communities’ interests and methodologies and can lead to bitter argument. The best that we can hope for, and the journal seeks to achieve, is self-criticality through objective evaluation of the quality of evidence and argument. Given that the journal has a pluralist approach to methodologies and is both global and interdisciplinary in scope, it does its best to encourage a civilized approach to debate. At all stages of the process the Editor may seek advice from members of the Editorial Advisory Board.

The Editor will make an initial decision concerning the viability of a potential contribution in terms of the journal’s mission statement, and his decision is final. Contributors who have been accepted are then asked to nominate two possible peer reviewers (with email contact addresses), whose opinions they feel that they would respect and contribute to the work on their texts. The reviewers should not be personal friends or colleagues. Doctoral students should take counsel from their advisors/supervisors on finding appropriate peer reviewers, who should not be involved in their supervision process. The reviewers are expected to be established authors whose publications are relevant to the proposed topic. The Editor would, if those conditions are met, send one of the nominees a copy of the text along with a request to act as peer reviewer. If the conditions are not met, the Editor is free to take advice from the Editorial Board. The potential reviewer is advised to read the text before giving consent and is perfectly free to decline the invitation without giving a reason. They are encouraged to respond promptly and if they are likely to experience difficulties in doing so should inform the Editor. The reviewer agreeing to the process would comment on the text, send comments directly to the author (copy to the Editor) and, if necessary, engage in an exchange of views. The reviewer is expected to alert the author to errors of fact and weaknesses in argument, making constructive suggestions for improvement. In the event of fundamental concern over the text’s viability for publication, the reviewer is expected to explain that concern to the Editor, who will then relay the explanation to the author with words of advice.

When authors feel that the exchange has reached a satisfactory conclusion they can send the final version of their paper directly to the Editor.

If there should be any disagreement between authors and referees over matters of interpretation, authors would not necessarily be expected to change their views or arguments because the journal itself can act as a forum for discussion. The Editor believes that the academic community is best served by free and open debate.

The journal has considered and rejected the double blind peer review process on the grounds that:

1) Often double reviews result in the assessors requesting diametrically opposing ways of revising an essay for publication which leads to one of the reviewers being ignored in order to move forward, making it no different than single reviewing.

2) The non-blind review system, precisely because the reviewer is known, works better than single and double-blind reviewing because the reviewer can dialogue with the author post-review to discuss point by point and recommendation by recommendation to bring the article to successful completion. Too often single or double-blind reviews are used by the editor to offer only “make these changes or it will not get accepted” ultimatums, whereas our board believes, where possible, in the expert reviewer working with the author whose work has successfully been reviewed to work further with them to improve their manuscript.

This journal has been recognized by the online Dictionary of Art Historians as ‘The major serial organ for the study of art historiography. Essays, primary texts, translations. Seminal.‘ It is indexed by ProQuest, EBSCO, DOAJ and is linked to by the world’s leading research centres for art history. It is archived by LOCKSS and the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC). It has also been awarded the DOAJ Seal. The journal has been approved for inclusion in ERIH PLUS.