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Publishing glossary


An additional referee who is asked to consider an article if two or more referees disagree in their recommendation. The adjudicator typically considers both the paper and the referee comments already obtained before reaching a final decision.

Article type

Journals publish more than just research papers. Many have several different types of article, each with a different purpose. Refereeing guidelines are usually made available for each by the journal so that referees know what standards to apply for the article they have been sent. Some examples of article types are:

  • Research papers: The main article type used by most journals. Reports new research in a detailed form.
  • Letters: Shorter articles, often with a special urgency or a high importance, describing new research but not in as much detail as in a full paper.
  • Reviews: Articles reviewing progress in an area, often with extensive reference lists.
  • Comments: Short articles commenting on a previously published work.
  • Corrigenda/Errata: Very short articles that correct an error in a published paper.

Conflict of interest

If you are a colleague of the authors, helped with the authors' research, are in direct competition with the authors, or stand to benefit financially if the authors' paper is published, then it is not appropriate for you to act as the referee for that paper. This situation is called having a "conflict of interest".

Double-blind refereeing

An alternative system of refereeing used by a few journals. Referees are not told who wrote the paper they are reviewing.

Editorial Board Members

Senior researchers who support the journal staff in maintaining and developing the journal. On some journals, Editorial Board members run the peer review process, on others they act in an advisory capacity.

Incremental Publishing

Work that makes only a minimal/insignificant advance over previously published work. This is also sometimes called “salami publishing”.

Open Peer Review

An alternative peer review model where the identity of the referees is made public and all reports are signed.


A form of scientific misconduct where the authors copy results or material from someone else’s work, claiming it is their own work.

Quality rating

A ratings system used by IOP as a measure of the quality of a manuscript. Referees are asked to rate papers against a quality ranking on the referee report form.


A step in the process where authors are asked to revise their article in response to a list of specific comments from referees and/or Editors.


A form of scientific misconduct where authors reproduce large amounts of their own previously published work and claim it is new material.

Single-blind refereeing

A system of refereeing where the authors are not told who the referees for their paper were. However the referees know who the authors of the paper were. Most journals use this system of refereeing.

IOP publications

* These titles are published in co-operation with international partners and peer review processes may vary

Contact information

IOP Publishing, Temple Circus, Temple Way, Bristol, BS1 6HG
Tel +44(0)117 929 7481 Fax +44(0)117 929 4318 Email