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Digital Humanities Benelux Conference 2017

Instructions for reviewers

Below is a slightly edited version of the instructions for reviewers, which we publish here both for consultation by the reviewers and to ensure transparency to the authors.

the reviewing procedure in general

The reviewing procedure is as follows. First, PC members will be asked to bid for submissions, i.e. to indicate which abstracts you would be willing to review. Deadline is Wednesday 22 February. Based on the bids, reviewing tasks will be assigned  by Monday 27 February. Each submission will be reviewed by three members of the PC, which means that on average each PC member will review 4-5 submissions.

PC members will then have three weeks to finish their reviews. The deadline is Monday 20 March. Based on the reviews, the Programme Chair will make a final decision on acceptance / rejection of the abstracts. The notification date is Wednesday 5 April.

paper bidding instructions

Three issues in the bidding phase merit particular attention. First, please indicate for which topic(s) you prefer to review abstracts. This will help the review system in making the final assignments. Second, please indicate your preference for each abstract. At this stage it is best to select as many abstracts as possible: this will not affect your reviewing workload but will again simplify the assignment process. Third, please pay particular attention to possible conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest would arise when you review work by someone you currently collaborate with, or with whom you have collaborated in the last three years. Given that the submissions are anonymous, it will not always be evident if such a conflict exists, but it is advisable in case of doubt not to take on a review.

reviewing instructions

The review form is very basic and contains four items:

  • overall evaluation: reject, weak reject, weak accept, accept
  • explanation and feedback (see below)
  • reviewer’s confidence: none, low, medium, high, expert
  • optional comments to the Programme Committee and organisers only.

The reviewing criteria are:

  • originality
  • relevance to the field
  • academic quality
  • clear focus

explanation and feedback
This is probably the most important part of the review. Short reviews are unhelpful, both for the authors and for the Programme Chair. Please carefully explain your overall evaluation, which should be based on the four criteria mentioned above. Since the reviews will be returned to the authors, they should include specific feedback that could help improve the abstracts, or, in case of rejection, offer suggestions for improving the research.

The maximum length of abstracts is 500 words for demonstrations and posters, and 1000 words for panels and individual presentations. All proposals should have an adequate length: excessive length as well as extreme brevity is undesirable.

ethical guidelines
It is vital for the trust in the peer review process that reviewers behave responsibly and ethically. Numerous extensive guidelines exist for peer reviewing, for examplehttp://publicationethics.org/files/Ethical_guidelines_for_peer_reviewers_0.pdf.

For this conference, the most important considerations are:

  • By agreeing to review an abstract you commit yourself to writing a thoughtful and detailed review. If you do not have the time for careful reviewing, inform the Programme Chair in time, rather than submitting a hastily written and/or superficial review.
  • Always be constructive in your feedback: even if you believe an abstract is far below standard, belittling or sarcastic comments are not appropriate.
  • As a reviewer you have the responsibility to protect the confidentiality of the ideas represented in the papers you review.
  • If you suspect academic misconduct, you should inform the Programme Chair either though the confidential comments or directly by email.
  • If you suspect a conflict of interest, don’t submit a review but please inform the Programme Chair.