Reviewing scientific papers (PhD level)

Period: 2023

Contact: Matteo Magnani

Description of the course

Peer review is one of the pillars of the institution of science. As academics, we are often involved in peer review processes, for example when we write a peer review ourselves, when we submit a paper to a journal or conference, or when we submit a research proposal.

This course covers theory and practice of reviewing scientific papers:

  • Types of peer review.
  • The peer review process(es).
  • Practical questions & tips.
  • Practical work.
  • Criticisms.

The course consists of:

  • One introductory day, with presentations by the teacher and discussions. We cover general concepts (types, processes) and discuss practical questions.
  • Individual work, followed by the students’ supervisors.
  • A final meeting to discuss the lessons learned during the individual work, the performed reviews, and some literature.

The practical reviewing work is domain-specific. Therefore, for a PhD student to participate in the course we require the student’s supervisor(s) to provide (at least) three papers to review between mid-February and end of summer, of a least two different types (for example, a journal paper and a conference paper), and to discuss the reviews written by their students with them.

Time plan

The introductory meeting is on Tue, Feb 14, 10:00-12:00 and 13:00-15:00. The final meeting will be decided based on the availability of the participants.

Reviews can be written until end of summer. This gives supervisors the possibility to give papers that they have to review to their students. In this way the supervisors do not need to read more papers for this course, and can use their reviews in the discussion.

Credits and assessment

Students must prepare for and actively attend the meetings, write (at least) three reviews and discuss them with their supervisors. The course corresponds to 2 credits.

Expected level and prerequisites

The course is for PhD students at all stages of their education.


The course is free for PhD students but the number of available places is limited. PhD students at the Department of Information Technology are given priority if there are more applications than available places.

Please apply to the course latest January 19, 2023.