Peer Review Policy

All papers submitted to the APSR will first be considered for possible desk rejection. Grounds for desk rejection include reasons related to remit, ethics and substance. A paper will be desk rejected for remit if it: Is not research, is not political science, or is otherwise outside of the scope of the journal; is not written in English or does not meet basic levels of English comprehension; is a duplicate publication of the author; violates submission guidelines; or fails to adhere to widely accepted standards of scholarly work in political science.


A paper will be desk rejected on ethical grounds if it: Includes plagiarized or unattributed text; presents research based on unethical procedures, including inadequate reasoned justification for exceptions to APSA’s 2020 Principles and Guidance for Human Subjects Research; (Also see Submission Guidelines); or represents a conflict of interest (a situation in which financial interests or other direct influences call into serious question the author’s capacity to conduct and report research independently).


A paper will be desk rejected on substantive grounds if it: Is missing a key element of an article (explanation of research design and methods, etc.); is insufficiently broad and relevant to be of interest to the APSR readership; or is unlikely to make it through the review process due to the narrowness of the topic, a lack of originality/innovativeness, insufficiently significant findings, a lack of evidence to support the claims advanced, an inappropriate research design, a failure to engage the relevant literature(s), and/or poor writing. Desk rejection on the basis of ethics or substance will be supported by at least two editors.


Once a paper is under review, we will seek to find reviewers who, as a group, can provide high quality reviews and who are knowledgeable about the approach, substance and methods of the article. Authors will have the opportunity to identify reviewers who present a problem. They will also be asked to identify co-authors, collaborators, students and others who cannot be expected to provide an impartial assessment of the work. In general, strong support from all or nearly all the reviewers will be necessary for publication, but decisions about publication are at the discretion of the editor. Note that ethical considerations may arise at any stage of the process.


Papers may be rejected, accepted, or the authors offered the opportunity to revise and resubmit. In general, revise and resubmit will be reserved for papers that are very close to publishable quality. Major revisions may go beyond the scope of the R and R process at the APSR, though the editor may extend an R and R with major revisions if they think it warranted. No R and R decision should be seen as a guarantee that the revised paper will be published. Upon the completion of the review process, authors may appeal a rejection on certain, very restrictive grounds (see our Appeals Policy) after a cooling off period. In general, note that mere disagreement with an editor’s decision will not be sufficient grounds for an appeal.