Peer review is a critical part of the publishing process at most science journals. Yet for many authors, the editorial review process might seem intimidating, maybe even a bit mysterious. Because there are many variations on the basic peer-review paradigm, in this chapter I will explain in some detail how the process works at the Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS (JM3). It is typical of other peer-review processes as well.
Peer review is defined as “the critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to journals by experts who are usually not part of the editorial staff.” It supports the scientific process by providing authors with constructive criticism of their work and by filtering out less valuable work, thus providing a “stamp of approval” from editors and peers for published scientific work. The mere prospect of peer review prompts authors to improve both the science and its presentation in a submitted manuscript.