What are the minor and major concerns that the reviewer should be concerned about and what improvement suggestions should they take in mind when reviewing a survey/review paper?

Are their duties for checking the language of the writing? Are they to check for the figures are in sufficient resolution?

  • reviewer is the person who is responsible for reviewing the paper or the surveys that will be accepted in the journal. Does this the appropriate place for this question? Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 19:12
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    it is a review paper that serves to survey/review an area of literature Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 19:22

2 Answers 2


If you are new to this, ask the editor of the journal for guidance. They probably have some prepared.

The minimum is to make a judgement about whether you think the paper should be published at all. If it is obviously sloppy or incorrect then you don't really need to do more than say that you think it can't be salvaged.

But, to serve both the journal and the authors you can, for reasonable papers, provide any advice that you think will (a) be required to make the paper come up to the journal's standards and (b) improve it for readers.

For a review of the literature you can point out that parts are missing if you notice that and possibly provide some pointers. But your job isn't to complete the paper.

This can include some minor suggestions on the writing and on the quality of the images. But you aren't expected to be a copy-editor. But if the language is terrible, you need to say that and, if possible, say how the author might go about getting it improved.

There are very rare cases, say in mathematics, in which the paper contains a poorly written but very important result. Then you, the editor, and the authors have the possibility of getting something important out, even if it requires a lot of work. For such things you can make more extensive suggestions if you have the time.

  • thanks for answering. but if the survey is a too-short search like 7 studies on the specific point but there is a lot of it .. what should the reviewer comment on that? and can the reviewer ask to add a new section to make a survey better like add a table for the previous studies on the point of the survey with its advantages and disadvantages ? as an abstraction Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 19:21
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    Anything you notice that you think will improve the paper can be mentioned. Mentioning it early will make later decisions easier and ease the work overall. Don't hold back. You aren't the only reviewer in most cases.
    – Buffy
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 19:32
  • great thanks for you Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 19:33
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    I would suggest asking your advisor before asking the editor.
    – user9482
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 6:23

Absent some compelling reason to the contrary, I would think that the reviewer should review every aspect of the paper that is within their ability to review. Check the content, the writing, the scope, the figures, and anything else you have the ability to check. If there is some aspect of the paper that you don't have the ability to check (e.g., it is out of your field of expertise) then it is useful to state this limitation in your review. There are some aspects of papers that are also checked by copy editors (e.g., spelling, resolution of figures, citations, etc.), but it doesn't hurt to raise these issues in the initial review process, so that the revised paper fixes them before going to the copy editors for production.

For a review paper, the main contribution you can make as a reviewer is to point out any deficiencies in the scope of the review, or the summary of papers in the field (e.g., identifying additional papers that should be cited, or places where the paper is summarised incorrectly). However, there is no reason that you should not point out any deficiencies in the paper that you think could be improved. Most reviewers try to respect the "style" of the author, but if you have suggestions for improvement then I see no reason to withhold them, even if they are minor. Bear in mind that in the revision process the authors may choose to act on each of your suggestions or decline to do so, so you are not forcing anything on them.

  • Thanks for your answer Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 10:50

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