Reviewer Guidelines


  • Submissions between 2,000 and 10,000 words are preferred.
  • Articles under 2,000 words will be considered for commentaries on the CSR website.
  • “A” score papers written at SAIS will be given preferential consideration.
  • The topic of the paper must be China-focused.


Reviewer Guidelines: 

  1. Please summarize the main ideas of the paper.
  2. Select for clarity:
    1. Excellent (Easy to follow): An exceptionally clear paper. Much of this paper would be accessible even to someone outside the field of China Studies.
    2. Above Average: A good paper, clearly written.
    3. Below Average: A decent paper, but could be written more clearly. Likely to be accessible only to those familiar with the topic.
    4. Poor (Hard to follow): The paper is unclear. Even people working in similar areas may have a difficult time understanding this paper’s contributions.
  3. Describe the logic:
    1. Is the paper clearly written? Is it well organized?
  4. Discuss the paper significance:
    1. Does the paper contribute to an advance in understanding of the topic?
    2. Are other researchers likely to use these ideas or build on them? Does the paper address a question in a novel way?
  5. Discuss the accuracy of the work:
    1. Are claims well supported by theoretical analyses or presented evidence?
    2. Are the authors careful (and honest) about evaluating both the strengths and weaknesses of the work?
  6. Discuss the overall strengths and weaknesses:
    1. In your discussion of the paper’s strengths and weaknesses, consider having a list of arguments for and against acceptance.
  7. Give an overall rating:
    1. Strong accept: An excellent paper, well above the acceptance threshold. I personally vote and argue for acceptance.
    2. Weak accept: A good paper, above the acceptance threshold. I personally vote for acceptance, although would not be upset if it were rejected.
    3. Weak reject: A decent paper, but just below the acceptance threshold. I personally vote for rejecting it, although would not be upset if it were accepted.
    4. Strong reject: A paper below the acceptance threshold. I personally vote and argue for rejection.
  8. Confirm your personal confidence score:
    1. Reviewer is an expert: The reviewer is absolutely certain that the evaluation is correct; the reviewer is very familiar with the relevant literature.
    2. Reviewer is knowledgeable: The reviewer is fairly confident that the evaluation is correct. It is possible that the reviewer did not understand certain parts of the paper, or that the reviewer was unfamiliar with a piece of relevant literature.
    3. Reviewer’s evaluation is an educated guess: Either the paper is not in the reviewer’s area, or it was extremely difficult to understand.