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Behind the Scenes: A Look at SitePoint’s Peer Review Program

Unless this is the first JavaScript channel article that you’ve read, you’ve probably already noticed the small paragraph that appears in most of our articles (at the top, until recently) which starts “This article was peer reviewed by …”. I’d like to take a look at what SitePoint’s peer review program actually is, why it’s important, and how you can get involved.

What is Peer Review?

You might be familiar with the term ‘peer review’ from the world of science research. The majority of reputable scientific journals operate a peer review system to vet the research papers that are submitted for publication. Several scientists who are familiar with the topic of the paper are asked to read it over and look for any potential errors or omissions and make recommendations for corrections and improvements that ultimately should result in a higher-quality publication.

Our peer review system works on a similar basis. Once a draft article is submitted to us, we try to seek out at least two people from our pool of volunteers who can read it and provide some feedback to the author.

Drafts are submitted as pull requests to our article repository on GitHub, which allows reviewers to comment on specific sections of the article and chat to the author about suggested changes. This has often lead to some very productive conversations in the comments and pushed a good article to become truly great.

Although we have some really great reviewers helping us out, it can be difficult getting enough reviews for the articles we receive. There’s a limit to how much we can ask of someone (especially as they’re doing this in their spare time), and it can be difficult to match up an article with reviewers who have experience of the topic in question. As such, we’re always on the look out for enthusiastic volunteers with an eye for detail – could this be you?

The Benefits of Becoming a Reviewer

If you decide to become a reviewer, what’s in it for you? The main benefit is you’ll receive credit for your efforts on each article you review. It might not sound like much, but your name and a link back to your website or social media profile will be seen by thousands of readers.

Being a reviewer is also a great stepping stone towards becoming an author yourself – you become familiar with the process, the other reviewers, and develop your ability to understand what makes a good article.

Lastly (and not to be underestimated), you are helping to provide good quality, free resources for others looking to level up their JavaScript skills. It’s a great way to give something back and get involved with the community of passionate authors, creators, and developers that hang out on SitePoint.

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