Guidelines for Reviewers



We ask all members of the review team (editors, authors, reviewers, and the Review Coordinator) to interact as colleagues committed to improving the submission. We ask reviewers to bring their best selves to the process and to respond to the work as they would want someone to respond to their work and foster their success. Your job, as a reviewer, is not to decide if the piece is ready to publish, but to provide thoughtful feedback, encouragement, and praise for what the piece does well, in addition to identifying areas for improvement that could make it ready to publish.



As we develop our new Collaborative Community Review application, PPJ’s Collaborative Community Review is being conducted in Google Documents for text and other cloud-based services for multimedia submissions. Thus, after an author completes our Submission Form, their piece is assigned to a Review Coordinator who prepares the piece for review in Google Documents and invites authors and reviewers to access the review.

Review Using the PPJ’s Four Style Criteria

Please review with the goal of identifying ways the author could improve the piece towards publication. To determine a piece’s fitness for publication, the Public Philosophy Journal uses the following criteria:



  • Can the author replace or explain any technical terms?
  • How does the piece consider multiple accessibility needs, such as accessing and interacting with text, audio, video, and other media?
  • Are people of all genders, races, classes, religions, abilities, sexual orientations, and other groups treated equitably in the piece? If so, how?


  • Which specific audience(s) or communities does the author acknowledge, consider, and engage with in their work?
  • What organizations and individuals are engaged in public initiatives associated with the questions or issues addressed by the submission?
  • Why is this specific issue of interest to this specific at the time of composition or publication?

Intellectual Coherence

  • Does the author identify claims that support their argument?
  • How does the author explain how the claims are related to each other and the larger argument?
  • Does the author provide compelling evidence in support of their claims?
  • For more creative works, how does the author convey their intended message to readers, listeners, and/or reviewers?

Scholarly Dialogue

  • How does the author demonstrate their awareness of existing discussions of their topic?
  • How has the author cited the work of others in their project?
  • How do the author’s citations represent members of the community concerned with the issue at hand?

Composing Public Holistic Responses

Collaborative Community Review (CCR) invites reviewers to compose a Public Holistic Response to be considered for publication in the journal alongside the piece under review. After providing feedback on specific passages of a submission—the first part of review—reviewers are encouraged to draft a Public Holistic Response in the box provided at the bottom of the review page. If the submission is accepted for publication, reviewers will be given opportunities to revise their responses.

Public Holistic Responses are vital to the PPJ‘s mission:

      • They aim to nurture generosity and collegiality among authors and review teams.
      • They encourage reflection on how the work engages or might further engage with stakeholder communities.
      • They incentivize post-publication discussion.
      • They give formal recognition of the time and care that reviewers have invested in the work.

The PPJ encourages hiring, tenure and promotion, and other committees to regard responses published in the journal as valuable scholarly contributions, in addition to considering them as evidence of participation in review, mentoring, and publication processes vital to their contributors’ fields.

holistic response considers the sum of the aims, arguments, findings, and other key elements of the work under consideration, especially in relation to the PPJ’s style criteria: relevance, accessibility, intellectual coherence, and scholarly dialogue. Thus, reviewers are asked to pay particular attention to how the work:

  • connects with members of the stakeholder community for whom the issue is of special concern;
  • invites approachable conversations with a broad audience;
  • engages concepts that deepen and advance understanding of the issue; and
  • participates in pertinent conversations within the academy and beyond.

Although reviewers should respond honestly to the work, it is equally important that they respond cordially and constructively. Responses that demonstrate the PPJ’s core values offer suggestions alongside criticisms, helping expand the work’s strengths, and pointing toward possibilities for continued conversation.

As a general rule, reviewers should aim to compose approximately 250 to 450 words. For examples, explore publications in the journal, such as the responses to “Practicing Public Scholarship” by PPJ Editor-in-Chief Christopher Long.


Author and Reviewer Confirmation Letters

PPJ ‘s Collaborative Community Review requires more engagement between authors and reviewers than is traditionally part of academic scholarship. CCR is recognized as an intellectually rigorous process, just as we encourage recognition that works published in the journal are strong contributions to their pertinent fields and to public philosophy more broadly.

To recognize the depth of engagement it takes to participate in CCR, the editorial team is happy to provide confirmation letters for inclusion in packages for tenure and promotion reviews, applications for graduate study, and applications for academic or non-academic employment. Authors and reviewers may request a confirmation letter by contact