Reviewer Guidelines for AMS Journals

Please see Obligations of Reviewers in the AMS Scientific Publication Process for AMS’s ethical guidelines for reviewers.

Your review is a vital part of the process of communicating research ideas, accomplishments, and progress in the sciences covered by the AMS journals. You are asked to make an evaluation and provide recommendations to ensure the scientific quality of a manuscript, including figures and tables. Note that reviewers are not expected to rewrite a paper and that a clear distinction must be made between errors on the part of the author and differences of opinion between author and reviewer.

We greatly appreciate your time and effort in preparing your review. If you have questions after reading the instructions below, please contact the Editor.

All submission types

Questions to consider as you write your review include:

  • Does the paper fit within the stated scope of the journal?
  • Does the paper identify a gap in scientific knowledge and add new knowledge to the overall body of scientific understanding, or does it repeat another study to verify its findings?
  • Is the paper free of errors in logic?
  • Do the conclusions follow from the evidence?
  • Are alternative explanations explored as appropriate?
  • Are biases, limitations, and assumptions clearly stated, and is uncertainty quantified?
  • Is methodology explained in sufficient detail so that the paper's scientific conclusions could be tested by others?
  • Is previous work and current understanding cited and represented correctly?
  • Is information conveyed clearly enough to be understood by the typical reader?
  • Are all figures and tables necessary, appropriate, legible, and annotated (as appropriate)?
  • Authors have the option of including a short (120 words) Significance Statement with their manuscript immediately following the abstract. See the guidelines for Significance Statements for more information. Reviewers should consider the following in evaluating Significance Statements:
    1. Is the Significance Statement consistent with the content of the article? Does it either over- or understate the importance of the study and its findings?
    2. Is the Significance Statement written in language that is understandable to educated laypersons outside of the paper’s subject area? Jargon and technical wording must be replaced by terms familiar to non-specialists.

Please note the areas in which you are satisfied with the manuscript. In cases where you find deficiencies, please specify how they can be remedied. If you believe the manuscript cannot be modified to reach the standard AMS requires for publication, state why you feel this is true. The more detail you provide, the better your review can assist the Editor in judging the paper's suitability for publication and also in giving useful information to the author for improving the paper in revision. Please list the most serious concerns first. A suggestion is to classify them into the following groups: Fatal Flaws (if any), Major Comments, Minor Comments, and Typos. Within each group, please number the comments and provide specific page and/or line numbers from the manuscript.

If the manuscript has numerous grammatical mistakes that inhibit the ability of a reader to understand the arguments, you may recommend rejection without writing a detailed review. The AMS recognizes that peer reviewers should not be required to fix manuscripts needing excessive revisions to English spelling and grammar. The authors may wish to employ a professional manuscript editing service in such situations.

Reviewer recommendations provide a consistent set of guidelines to the Editor. Your review should begin with your overall recommendation: Accept as is (no changes), Minor Revisions required (no need to see the revised manuscript), Major Revisions required (need to reevaluate the revised manuscript), Reject, or Transfer (please specify the appropriate journal if possible).

AMS policy is that all reviews are considered anonymous unless you specifically indicate in your comments to the Editor that you wish to waive your anonymity.

Review Articles

Peer review reports for Review articles should be approached slightly differently than for regular Articles. In addition to the Reviewer Guidelines for all submission types, please consider the following points:

  • Being a Review, the manuscript does not necessarily need to have original content. However, the content of the Review should present the work in a manner in which it has not been synthesized previously. Does the Review, through its synthesis, bring a new perspective to the topic?
  • Does the Review provide a comprehensive breadth of the topic, rather than being narrowly focused on one particular group of researchers or a small number of groups?
  • Is the Review timely?
  • Is the scope of the Review well defined?
  • Where relevant, does the Review lay out future research opportunities?
  • Where relevant, does the Review portray controversies and conflicts accurately and from a balanced perspective?
  • Where relevant, does the Review describe the limitations and strengths of previous research?

Lessons Learned (AIES)

Lessons Learned manuscripts differ from regular Articles in several ways, so in addition to following the Reviewer Guidelines for all submission types, please keep the following points in mind as you review:

  • Lessons Learned manuscripts must be short (roughly 3,000 words) and focused on providing general insights to the audience. Please include feedback in your review if you feel that the manuscript is too lengthy and provide suggestions for what might be cut. Alternatively, please include feedback in your review if you feel that key information is missing, even if adding it might increase the manuscript length beyond the limit.
  • The manuscript should provide such insights on the use of AI for Earth Systems through either a successful or an unsuccessful research result, or through a meta-analysis or perspective based on existing results. While it is typically harder to publish negative results, we encourage publication so long as the results are well analyzed and provide general insights. The goal is to prevent other researchers from going down fruitless pathways and to enable the community to move forward quickly in the most promising directions.

Social Science Datasets, Research Instruments, and Data Ethics (WCAS)

“Social Science Datasets, Research Instruments, and Data Ethics” articles are intended to introduce and describe innovative or recent products of wide applicability and interest, relevant to the scope of WCAS. Articles describing a dataset or data ethics are not expected to include an analysis or discussion section, however, a concise summary of statistical reliability and validity is encouraged when publishing a novel survey or other research instrument. The relatively brief articles should provide a detailed description of their dataset, instrument, or data ethics issue, should explain its significance to the field, and should provide access to the full instrument or dataset, if applicable. If you have questions concerning these criteria, please contact the WCAS Editor who is handling the manuscript.