Peer review as the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work (peers). It constitutes a form of regulation by qualified members of a community within the relevant field. The astroEDU peer review method is employed to maintain standards of quality, improve visibility and provide credibility to the astronomy educational activities.
All the astroEDU activities will be submitted to 2 referees. Referees are among the most important assets of astroEDU. astroEDU has two categories of referees: Content Specialist referees and Education referees. The content referee is a research scientist from the scientific field of the activity (eg.: if the activity is about the Sun we will have a solar physicist reviewing the activity). The educational referee is an educator with experience in education of the level and age of the target audience of the activity (eg. if the activity is for primary school children the education referee will be a primary school teacher or someone with experience in primary school education).
We have created two separate rubrics. One for content specialists and one for educators to help assess the quality of submitted activities in a standardised way that shouldn't be too burdensome for reviewers. Reviewers are asked to consider a variety of statements to guide their own comments and suggestions. Activity authors are encouraged to read and consider the rubric while designing activities as well to help guide the designing process.
The Editor keeps contact with the referees by email. When a referee is asked to produce a report, she/he should respond to the Editor as soon as possible, stating whether she/he accepts to act as a referee. In the case of a negative answer, the suggestion of (an) other referee(s) is warmly appreciated.
Reports should be written in such a way as to help the author address any issues identified with the activity. Suggested changes to a activity should be clearly stated.
The referee concludes the assessment with one of the following recommendations:
Once activities have been modified by the author they may be resent to the referee for re-evaluation (if only minor modifications are required the Editor may fulfill this duty).
Referees are also asked to provide recommendations on how to improve (if necessary) the language and visual communication of the activity. Referees are kindly requested to produce their reports within 3 weeks. In case they need more time, or cannot produce their report in a reasonable time, or are at all unable to produce a report, they are strongly requested to contact the Editors at their earliest convenience. Referee reports need to be submitted to the editor and not to the original author.
The Editor decides upon the acceptance of each activity on the basis of the referees' reports and of the general astroEDU style. The final version of the activity will be sent to the editorial board for the approval. Once the final decision has been made the Editor will notify the author not normally more than 4 weeks from the date of the original submission (this will depend on the level of modifications needed by the author).
All accepted activities will be immediately made available on astroEDU (including the epub and PDF versions) unless a delay is requested by the author or the editorial board.
Based on comments and feedback provided by the astroEDU website audience, the astroEDU editor will moderate these comments and will try to incorporate the suggestions in the activity. If the changes are large, the editor will explore the creation of a new activity which goes through the peer-review again, which is built out of the original activity.
If you are a professional astronomer or an educator, and would like to volunteer to peer-review astroEDU activities, please fill in the online form.