Thank you for agreeing to be a reviewer for the Radical Housing Journal.
Our review philosophy
The RHJ is interested in engaging with a rigorous and generous review process that benefits all contributors and their ongoing work. We see reviews as one of the key collaborative components embedded in the journal’s wider philosophy of autonomous, critical, and open knowledge production. We recognise the labour and generosity reviewing entails and hope that the RHJ’s process is valuable for all involved.
Articles submitted to The Long Read (focusing on critical analysis and theory-making) and Retrospectives (focusing on specific cases, histories, actions) sections of RHJ are sent out for anonymous review to reviewers familiar with the area covered in the article. We seek two reviewers for each article (chosen among the academic and activist communities), recognising that in many cases individuals will identify with both of these “positions”, and will self-select in discussion with the contact editor. Activist reviewers are considered to be those that are or have been engaged with a community or movement at some point that has thematic similarity with the paper. In the case of activist reviewers, we seek someone as relevant as possible with the movement dynamics under review without falling into the ethical dilemmas of selecting someone directly involved in the movement being analysed. Academic reviewers will have the disciplinary and/or topic-relevant knowledge to evaluate the submission. We are committed to ensuring gender, racial and ethnic diversity among reviewers.
Guidelines for reviewers
We ask you to read the work within three weeks of receipt and send back comments (1,000 words max) and a recommendation using the review form.
Once all reviewers’ comments are received, the designated editor will decide what should happen with the article (reject, major revisions, minor revisions, accept as is) based on the comments and recommendations. The editor will communicate the decision to the author, along with (anonymous) reviewer comments, to help the author develop the article, whether or not RHJ publishes it. Thus, reviews support authors to develop clearly written papers that are more intellectually developed and politically relevant.
In reviewing, we would like you to bear the following three broad guidelines in mind, as they will matter immensely to the content, scope, and tone of your assessment:
- Constructive criticism, in a spirit of solidarity
Our job as reviewers and editors is generally in trying to help people who are making an effort in a direction that we share to some degree, to develop their ideas more clearly, with more insight and in ways that are more helpful to the housing movements, collectives or agents for social change we work with as researchers, theorists, writers etc. The most helpful comments address real problems in an article, identifying difficulties, explaining why they are difficulties and suggesting alternative approaches or ways of addressing them. If there is anything you need to say which can’t be said in this way it may be best simply to include it in the feedback to the editor rather than in the direct feedback to authors.
- Furthering practical and theoretical knowledge about housing injustices
One of our main goals in producing RHJ is to speak to academic as well as non-academic, grassroots activists, practitioners and policy-makers concerned with housing injustices. Different articles may need encouragement in different directions. For example, articles written by people from housing movements may become too immersed in the movement’s own practice, turning into over-simplified celebrations or a denunciation of the injustices the movement is struggling to change. Articles written by academic researchers may lose the focus on generating knowledge that is genuinely useful to movements and collectives struggling for social transformation. This is why we work with both activist and academic reviewers, recognising that the “division” between the two is not straightforward: to try to move past these potential impasses and pitfalls, and to have different and meaningful perspectives on a common theme.
- Communication to an international audience
As an international journal considering critical perspectives on ‘housing’, ‘home’, ‘homelessness’, ‘eviction,’ ‘intersectionality,’ and the like, authors of articles for RHJ are drawing on a broad range of different political, disciplinary, intellectual and other languages, as well as their varied movement, regional and local cultures. A key feature of the editing process is helping people to write in ways that will get their point across more effectively to people from other cultures and who use different languages. We are not trying to develop a single homogenous style or way of writing, but to find ways of encouraging people to speak—with their own voice and accent—in ways that can be understood and appreciated by others.
Review criteria and guiding questions
Aside from the broad guidelines, your review can address some or all of the following criteria:
- Theoretical or practical relevance of the essay and its main questions/contributions to issues around radical housing, and specifically to issue theme
- Engagement with theory and practice
- Writing style and presentation
- Ethical concerns, if any
Based on the previous criteria, here are some possible questions to further guide your review:
- What are the article’s strengths and weaknesses?
- In which way(s) does the author address the theme guiding the current issue of RHJ?
- What new issues (theoretical or practical) is the article adding to activist, scholarly or public debates?
- How clear are the content and line of argument? Is the argument clearly structured (coherent and conclusive)?
- What level of understanding / expertise on the subject matter does the author show? Is there any obvious fault or inaccuracy in both the references used and the understanding of such sources? (If you feel that there are aspects of the author’s discussion that you are not qualified to review, please state which ones).
- How much knowledge of the subject matter is presupposed? How much is made clear?
- Overall, how informative/ innovative/sophisticated is her/his discussion?
- Are there parts of the text that you deem unnecessary? Are there parts that should be expanded?
- Is the author’s style fluent, e.g. can you read this paper easily?
- Is the paper referenced correctly? Please help us to identify any infringement of copyright or plagiarism.
We ask that you submit a maximum 1,000 word review to the author in the relevant section of the review form.
Aside from two different spaces to enter text for author feedback and to the RHJ collective, we also ask that you select one of the following steps to be taken:
- ACCEPT without revisions (publication ready): this indicates that you think the article is ready to go as is.
- ACCEPT with minor revisions: similar to above, but you feel that RHJ should commit itself to publishing the article. In this case any resubmission will be sent to the editor directly.
- REVISE AND RESUBMIT (major revisions): you think that this article could be published, subject to substantial changes being made – these need to be specified. In this case we hope you would be available to review any resubmission, which you can indicate further down on the google form.
- REJECT: you feel the article is simply not suitable for RHJ, for whatever reason.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you have at any stage of the process.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: we would like to thank the editors from Interface: a journal for and about social movements (www.interfacejournal.net) and from the Graduate Journal of Social Science (www.gjss.org) for generously sharing their peer review process, tools and experience with us.