in three forms:
Literature reviews introducing an article. These are never comprehensive:
Rather, they briefly describe some of the previous research done
on the problem the author proposes to study. The reader is expected
to know something of the problem already but can be expected to
not know the literature comprehensively. WPE authors seek a balance
between telling the reader too much and too little.
Literature reviews of a given topic. These are also never totally
comprehensive, just more complete. Some reviews are purposefully
ideological and will ignore findings contrary to the point being
made. Others will try to summarize the existing literature in
order to clarify what has been learned, and ignore badly done
research. In print, such reviews are crippled by publication delays.
WPE has no such delays, and offers the Update feature. Authors
submitting topical reviews are expected to update them as relevant
Reviews of a specific WPE or print article. These discuss the
methodology and conclusions of the cited article. Reviews of WPE
articles are linked so that readers of the article will also know
of the review, author's reply, further debate, and updates. They
are expected to be short. Reviews of print articles will not be
posted without a cover letter certifying the reviewed article's
author(s) have been notified (preferably by email) of the review.
Reviews of specific
articles should avoid some frequent mistakes.
- a) Avoid
ad hominem attacks.
Avoid obvious logical errors, especially rhetorical ones.
Don't be petty.
Don't review research you don't know anything about.
Add some new information to the debate.
Keep the review brief.
Be prepared to defend your views. The author is required to reply.
As noted, literature
reviews are deliberately not comprehensive. Knowledgeable scientists
may want to mention additional citations the authors omitted. Please
consider doing so using the archived email list rather than in a
try to replicate previously validated research (also called a cross-validation).
When the results do not support the previous results, a "failure
to replicate" article is published. If done properly, failures
to replicate guide further research. "Hit piece" refers
to an experiment or literature review deliberately (rather than
inadvertently) designed to end a line of research. Hit pieces fail
to use an obvious, easily available method, to control for an obvious,
well-known variable, or fail to cite large amounts of conflicting
literature. The resulting reviews will highlight these failures,
and debate will ensue on whether the experiment or literature review
is a hit piece.