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American Language Journal Referee Guide

Thank you for being willing to review abstracts and manuscripts under consideration for

inclusion in the ALJ.  Below you will see the standard process and Frequently Asked

Questions.  Please download the referee feedback form, as well.  If you have any

questions along the way, email them to

Thank you!  Xie xie!  Arigato gozaimasu!  ¡Muchas gracias! 

Sgi!  Bohoma sthuthi!  Merci!  Go raibh maith agat!




Responsibility of referee: 

Your job is to let the editor know if the submitted work should be published in the journal.  You can do that by providing: 

  1. Providing a summary of the paper's core contribution.  Is the research contributing to the field? Is the hypothesis clearly stated? 

  2. Describing what the strengths and weaknesses of the research are in its current state.  

  3. Giving a  frank assessment: is the core contribution of the paper publishable? 


While you can point out stylistic or grammar errors if they are frequent and render the research unpublishable, do not focus your feedback on these issues.   If you want an additional resource on how to referee a peer-reviewed journal, this is a good resource


  1. You will be assigned some abstracts or articles through email.

  2. Read through the document. (Abstracts: <5 minutes; Articles <30 minutes) 

  3. Document any revisions you believe would strengthen the article in the referee feedback form using MS Word (download the form below).

    • If there are repeated errors or areas for improvement throughout, call it out generally.  

    • Feedback on content and research approach is preferred over stylistic or grammar revisions. 

    • Writing feedback should only take 10 minutes for a full manuscript. 

  4. Be sure to list your recommendation! 

  5. Email the form back to within 48 hours with your recommendation in the subject line. 



You will receive compensation at the following rates: 

  • Abstracts = 10 minutes paid

  • Articles = 45 minutes paid


What topics can be accepted: 

  • Generally: Anything related to language

  • Specifically: Topics related to linguistics and literature, second language education, Native language education, heritage language education, computer-assisted language learning (CALL), language policy, and applied linguistics.


What should I do if the topic isn't relevant? 

  • If the abstract does not have anything to do with language, mark your recommendation as "Reject", include the following in the comments section of your recommendation, and move on: 

    • Topic not relevant to the American Language Journal.
      If interested in resubmitting, please include how the research is relevant to current discussions surrounding language in America.


Does "America" mean "United States" in regards to the Journal?

  • No.  Instead, we mean North, Central, and South America, including issues that affect language in those regions (e.g. "Hawai'ian Language Proficiency Assessment")


How long should I spend reviewing an abstract? 

  • Ideally, five to ten minutes.  If you are assigned an abstract, quickly determine if the topic is appropriate for inclusion and if the research seems valid and empirically driven. 


What should I do if the abstract could be related to a topic relevant for inclusion, but that isn't made clear? 

  • Recommend major revisions and describe quickly how the paper could be strengthened.  Don't spend more than 10 to 15 minutes on this, knowing that the author is not likely to re-submit. 


What if it takes me longer than 30 minutes to read the article? 

  • Skim the article to understand their research approach, design, and conclusion.  

  • If it takes longer to read due to length, ask the author to shorten the paper.  (Max length: 15 pages, single-spaced; or about 8000 words)

  • If it takes longer to read due to density, skim the article, and ask the author to strengthen the readability of the work in revision. 


Can I use Google Docs to fill out the referee form? 

  • Unfortunately, no.  Conversion to Google Docs will change formatting.  Since these are external-facing documents, it's important that formatting stay consistent. 

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