Information for Research Report Reviewers

Reviewing is an important responsibility of each researcher within IGPME, since it is the main mechanism to ensure the scientific quality of the research presented and discussed on PME conferences. PME relies on members to take over this duty.

A reviewer is asked to review several Research Report submissions (typically three), and to provide an evaluation of whether each Research Report is suitable for presentation at the conference and inclusion in the proceedings. PME provides several criteria to evaluate the contributions and to provide a recommendation to the International Programme Committee to accept or reject each contribution.


Review Process

The submitted proposals for the Research Reports are double-blind peer-reviewed by three PME members whose areas of expertise match the research categories chosen for the contribution. The International Programme Committee (IPC) decides on the acceptance of proposals. Notification of the decision of the International Program Committee will be available after the 2nd meeting of the International Program Committee in April. The proposal can be accepted or rejected, or the author is invited to resubmit the contribution in the form of a Oral or Poster Presentation.

The authors receive the reviewers’ evaluations when the decision on acceptance of their paper is communicated.

The authors may be invited to provide feedback to their reviewers via the Conftool system. If the authors made use of this opportunity, the feedback will be available to the reviewers in the Conftool system.

The Local Organizing Committee recruits potential reviewers from experienced PME members who have presented either two PME Research Reports in the last five years or presented three PME Research Reports in the last ten years.

Members of the International Programme Committee consider each contribution separately during their second meeting in April. They make a decision on acceptance, rejection or invitation to resubmit as Oral Communication or Poster Presentation. They base this decision on the reviewers’ recommendations, their verbal review comments, the reviewers’ ratings of each aspect, and if necessary they also consider the submitted contribution itself. Usually, papers that are recommended for acceptance by at least two reviewers are accepted by the IPC.

In case an author disagrees with the result of the reviewing procedure, she or he may contact the Local Organizing Committee of the PME conference. If an agreement is not reached this way, there are several instances that might help to clarify the situation. See also http://www.igpme.org/index.php/annual-conference/contributions/ombudsman.


Review Criteria

Reviewers will evaluate the contributions – depending on the type of contribution – according to the following criteria:

1. Reports of empirical studies

  • Rationale of the study and research questions
    e.g.: Is the goal of the study clearly stated and justified?
  • Theoretical framework and literature
    e.g.: Is the theoretical and empirical background explained sufficiently? Do the authors explain their main variables of interest?
  • Methodology
    e.g.: Is the methodology of the study adequate regarding the questions and goals stated for the study? Was this methodology implemented reasonably?
  • Results and Interpretation
    e.g.: Are the results presented clearly? Are the interpretations adequate to the results and the framework of the study?
  • Clarity
    e.g.: Is the language and style of the paper adequate? Are tables and graphics of good quality?
  • Relevance to a PME audience
    e.g.: Are the study, its goal and results of relevance for the scientists and mathematics educators who come to a PME conference

2. Theoretical and philosophical essays

  • Rationale and aim of the analyses
    e.g. Is the goal of the theoretical analysis clearly stated and justified?
  • Theoretical framework and related literature
    e.g. Is the theoretical and empirical background explained sufficiently? Do the authors explain the central concepts involved in their analysis and argument?
  • Statement and argument
    e.g.: Do the authors give an articulated statement of their position? Do the authors give sound arguments based on their theoretical framework to support their position?
  • Implications for existing and further research
    e.g. Do the authors give an outlook on what their position implies for theory and practice in mathematics education?
  • Clarity
    e.g.: Is the language and style of the paper adequate? Are tables and graphics of good quality?
  • Relevance to a PME audience
    e.g.: Is the study, its goal and results of relevance for the scientists and mathematics educators who come to a PME conference?

For each of these criteria, reviewers are asked to comment if the contribution meets the standards that are necessary to contribute to the main goals of IGPME and also to give a rough rating (excellent standard, meets the standard, slightly below standard, below the standard). Based on this evaluation and his overall impression, the reviewer makes a justified recommendation on acceptance or rejection to the International Programme Committee. A paper should usually be recommended for acceptance if does at least meet the standard in all aspects. A paper should usually be recommended for rejection, if it is considered to be clearly below the standard in any aspect or slightly below the standard in substantial or multiple aspects. Nevertheless, a reasoned recommendation may of course deviate from these very rough guidelines.


How are reviewers selected?

If you are eligible as a reviewer, the Conference Organizers will approach you some weeks before the submission deadline in January.


How do reviewers receive Research Reports and submit their reviews?

If you agree to be a reviewer, you login to the Conference Registration system and select the research topics, grade levels and methods of research that you are willing to review. You may also select the number of papers you are willing to review. If you cannot act as a reviewer, please inform either the Conference Chair or the Administrative Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The International Programme Committee assigns reviewers (usually three) to each Research Report during its first meeting in January in the year of the conference. This assignment is based on the research topics, grade levels, and methods of research that you indicated as you main area of interest.

Each author or co-author of a submitted Research Report, who is eligible as a reviewer, is expected to provide at least three reviews on Research Report papers for the same conference.

You will receive an e-mail stating that your assigned Research Reports are available for review in the Conference Management system in January. You should submit your reviews via an online form in the Conference Management System, generally until March (the due date is given when you receive your reviews).


What do I have to do when I review a PME RR?

As a PME reviewer, you should at least:

  • First, inform yourself about the concept of a PME Research Report and the current regulations for submission and reviewing. Please consider also the Submission Checklist provided for Research Report authors.
    http://www.igpme.org/index.php/annual-conference/session-types/research-report
  • Read all information that comes with the Research Report, e.g. if it is a theoretical or empirical paper and which main research topics the author chose.
  • Read the Research Report papers assigned to you thoroughly and try to identify their strengths as well as weaknesses in relation to the goals of research in IGPME.
  • Inform the Conference Organizers in case a paper has any formal problems (not being in accordance with formatting guidelines, not being properly blinded). This does also apply if the research presented in the proposal has already been published in a very similar form elsewhere or on a previous PME conference.
  • Inform the Conference Organizers in case you feel in any way biased regarding the evaluation of a paper. This may occur, if you were involved in the research presented, or if the paper is not properly blinded and you feel that your knowledge of the authors’ identities will affect your judgement.
  • Evaluate the contribution according to each of the criteria provided in the review form. Please give a short, but substantial verbal comment. Moreover, indicate by a rating if the contribution meets the standards that are necessary to contribute to the main goals of IGPME („excellent standard“, „meets the standard“, „slightly below standard“ or „below the standard“) for each of these criteria.
  • Give a recommendation to the IPC to accept or reject the proposal.
    A paper should usually be recommended for acceptance if it does at least “meet the standard” in all aspects. A paper should usually be recommended for rejection, if it is considered to be clearly below the standard in any aspect or slightly below the standard in substantial or multiple aspects. Nevertheless, a reasoned recommendation may of course deviate from these very rough guidelines.
  • Shortly before or during the conference, visit the Conftool system and check if any of the authors provided feedback on the review you wrote on their contribution.

Please consider what is special about reviewing PME Research Reports!

  • Research Reports are not mere conference abstracts. They should present a substantial contribution to research in a field related to the major goals of PME.
  • Research Reports are not journal articles. They are restricted to 8 pages and thus cannot give a comparably elaborate account as a longer book contribution or a journal article. What is important is a concise, but also clear presentation of the main aspects of the research presented.
  • PME contributions may present empirical studies, but also theoretical analyses. Please refer to the respective reviewing criteria depending on what kind of contribution was assigned to you.
  • How much to write for the review? A Research Report review should not restrict itself to a mere rating of each aspect in the rating form. On the other hand, Research Report reviews cannot be as elaborate as reviews for journal or book contributions. At least a short, substantial comment relating to the paper should be included for each of the criteria. If this comment helps the author improve the work, this is even better.
  • PME Research Reports are evaluated and published in exactly the form in which they were submitted. This means that no revisions are possible by the authors.
    In particular, improperly formatted or improperly blinded contributions should be reported to the Conference Organizers.

How do I decide about resubmission in a different format?

Apart from proposing a contribution to be accepted or rejected as a research report, you can propose to give the author a change to resubmit the contribution as a Oral Communication or a Poster Presentation. In this case, the author is given some time to shorten the contribution and resubmit it for review by the IPC. Proposing resubmission in a different format is a good choice if...

  • ...either the presented research is of general interest, but does not have enough substance (e.g., new results, strong implications) to be presented as a research report,
  • ...or the presented research has sufficient substance and is of general interest, but the written contribution itself has flaws that make it impossible to accept it for publication. Slight language issues that do not affect clarity of the paper should not be a reason to propose resubmission in a different format instead of an accept decision.

In case you want to propose resubmission, please consider carefully which format is more adequate to present the research:

  • The goal of an Oral Communication is to present smaller studies and research that is best communicated by means of a shorter oral presentation instead of a full Research Report.
  • Poster Presentations are intended for information/research that is best communicated in a visual form rather than an oral paper presentation

Sample Reviews

On the following page you will find some examples of helpful and less helpful comments in reviews of Research Reports, for submissions that would be accepted as well as those that would be rejected.

For examples of helpful and unhelpful reviews, please click here.


Receive Feedback on Your Review!

After the review process and communication of review results, authors of PME research reports are invited to provide feedback to their reviewers. Authors indicate how supportive, constructive, and encouraging they perceived the review and they can also give some verbal comments. This feedback is accessible for you in the Conftool system as soon as an author entered her or his feedback. Take the chance and cast a look at the feedback and see what the authors thought about your reviews!

THANK YOU FOR AGREEING TO BE A REVIEWER!