The peer review process begins when an author submits an article to a journal to be considered for publication. The editor of the journal will then pass the article on to experts in the same field of study. These experts will review the article for flaws such as problems with the way the research was conducted, false data, plagiarism or a poorly-conceived hypothesis. The number of experts asked to review an article may vary from one to three or more.
Articles generally fit into one of four categories:
- The article is so well written that it will be accepted as is
- The article will be accepted if the author makes some minor revisions
- The article is rejected but can be resubmitted with substantial revisions
- The article is rejected outright (because the topic is not a good match for the journal or because there are serious problems with the research or writing)