Systematising System: One reviewer’s analysis of the review process


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3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes one reviewer’s experience of reviewing for the journal System over an eight-year period, 2003–2011. The paper reports on the reviews produced by the single reviewer, which have been compiled into a specific purpose – an ‘occluded’ – corpus (Swales, 1996) of 122 reviews, comprising 93,000 words. The paper first describes the construction of the corpus based around analytic categories for reviews derived from guidelines for reviewers provided by System’s publishers as well as from analytic categories derived from a grounded theory analysis of the reviewer’s own reviews. As a starting point for analysis, the study sets a baseline for reliability through an inter-reviewer correlation by means of comparison with companion reviews made available to the author. The study then explores how far verdicts on manuscripts (MSs) are related to the length of reviews, whether excessively long manuscripts will incur immediate rejection and whether qualitative studies are rejected more often than quantitative ones. The paper closes with comments about future directions regarding substantive analyses of this corpus. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-553
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


Coniam, D. (2011). Systematising System: One reviewer’s view of the review process. System, 39(4), 539-553. doi: 10.1016/j.system.2011.10.018


  • Academic reviews
  • Small corpus
  • The journal system

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