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Peer reviewer guidelines

Peer reviewer guildelines to help referees assess the suitability of evidence-based articles for publication in an RCNi nursing journal

It is impossible to offer a definitive list of criteria for all manuscripts, which vary according to subject area and author style, but the following principles may help referees to decide whether to recommend publishing.

The first criterion for all articles should be that they inform and educate nurses. It can be helpful therefore to use the recognised education stages of knowledge, skills, attitude, understanding, application and synthesis to assess them.


Articles should be original, accurate and reflect current practice. All claims should be substantiated with up-to-date references (within the past ten years unless they refer to seminal work), and authors should, where appropriate, offer historical perspectives in explaining the factors that determine current nursing practice.


Not all material seeks to facilitate learning. Where authors write about practice, articles should facilitate the translation of theory into practice. Authors should expand knowledge to incorporate an understanding of procedural skills.


Articles should help the development and understanding of professional practice. Within this philosophy, authors are free to review current practice and discuss or predict changes in practice.


Articles should be structured and written in a way that helps readers understand the subject. They should convey facts clearly and demonstrate an author’s understanding of the subject in question. True understanding of a subject is achieved only when an author looks behind the immediate facts and investigates the rationale behind current trends and practice.


Articles should seek to educate readers further than a basic review of the facts. Authors, in demonstrating an ability to apply their findings or facts, should explore alternatives to current practice methods including, where appropriate, comparative analysis of other methods.


Authors should conclude articles by drawing together the facts or findings to create in each case a whole picture of the current position. By doing so, they generate new material and suggest possibilities for further work.

Become a reviewer

To become a reviewer for articles within our journal, please contact the journal editor.

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