Thank you for agreeing to review for us. Review provides an objective measure proving that research meets the standard required in academia. It provides a platform for experienced and highly qualified professionals to improve quality of researches. Review ensures that:

  • Researchers value ethical conduct, or are reminded of research ethics.
  • Provides researchers and writers an opportunity to improve language, expression, structure and formatting.
  • Gives researchers confidence, knowing that their ideas are confirmed by peers or experts.
  • Gives writers space to value their work, and reminds them not to copy or replicate the work of others.
  • Reminds researchers and writers to value African knowledge and literature, and to contribute to decolonisation of knowledge.
  • It gives readers and users of our publications trust in what we publish.

Our guidelines for authors can be found here, please refer to them. If you need additional information, please email us. Peer review ensures that journals publish high quality papers. If you are related, befriended or working with an author of a paper you are asked to review then there is possible conflict of interest. Please inform the Editor so that he/she can make an informed decision. The reviewer shall not reveal his/her identity to the author. It is important that reviewers are not revealed to other reviewers for the same paper they are reviewing. If the reviewer requires additional information, he/she should contact the editor.

Once a reviewer receives a manuscript, they shall immediately notify the Editor if they are capable and suitable of offering the review and should promptly proceed with the review. Once they are finished, they should email back their comments. The office shall notify the reviewer of the Editorial decision.

Before you read further about reviewing, please look at our editorial and peer review procedures described in the table.

Editing and Peer Review Process

Step 1 1-15 daysEditorial check – The Editor check is the submitted manuscript aligns with journal policy, is of good standard and has no plagiarised content. If it does not fit the policy, it is rejected.   If it is of low quality, Editor offers suggestions for improvement. If it is good quality, it proceeds to step 2.
Step 2 15-30 days  Editorial review – The Editor checks content focusing mainly on methods, results and conclusions more carefully. If these are of good quality, it proceeds to stage 3. If it is of low quality, the Editor makes comments and suggests corrections.
Step 3 30-90 daysPeer review – The Editor identifies two peer reviewers from the reviewers list, previous authors and other experts on the topic. The Editor sends reviewers the anonymised title page and abstract to check if they are available and able to review. If they are available, they receive an anonymised manuscript each. Reviewers will not be informed of the identity of the other reviewer and authors will not know the identity of the reviewers. They are then given 30 days to review but they can request more time. When they are done, they email the Editor their comments and their feedback to the Editor (rejection, acceptance with minor revision or major revision).
Step 4 1-30 daysThe Editor considers the feedback from all reviewers and makes a final decision. If the Editor is not decided, a member of the Editorial team is asked for an opinion.
Step 5 1-30 daysEditor informs author of the decision. Author makes corrections and provides feedback, showing corrections made, areas they did not correct and reasons. Editor may share corrected manuscript with any of the peer reviewers if they had indicated they are available to read again.
Step 6 30-90 days  Editor checks improved manuscript and sends it for copy-editing. The type-setter may make suggestions to the Editor and author to improve formatting, presenting and structure. The author proof-reads final copy-edited manuscript.
ASWNet Editing and Peer Review Process

How do I present my review?

There are several ways to present your review. You can do any of the following (1) type your review and send it in an email (2) type your review and send it as an attachment (3) open the manuscript and use track changes and email it – remember to remove your name when you comment (4) open the document and type your comments on the first page and email back (5) use the template that we have created and email back – please note that you are not expected to fill all the boxes.

Questions to think about when you review

  1. Has author adhered to journal policy?
  2. Is the topic relevant and clear?
  3. Does the abstract include everything, can it stand on its own?
  4. Are the key words adequate, do they reflect the topic?
  5. Is the introduction clear, does it include everything required in a standard introduction? is it one paragraph?
  6. Is the background clear, is there adequate information to show the research gap?
  7. If literature has been reviewed, is this adequate? Are the methods of the review shown?
  8. Are results clearly presented, are they adequate?
  9. If the manuscript is a conceptual or theoretical one, is there a clear gap being addressed and is the argument strong?
  10. Are conclusions of the research clear and adequate? Do they flow from the study?
  11. What are the implications of this study? Are they clear and reasonable? Do they flow from the study?
  12. Is there a final conclusion? is this one paragraph? Is it adequate?
  13. Is the list of references presented using ASWNet referencing guide? Are majority of references African sources?
  14. Generally, how is the quality of work? How is the writing?

Other important issues

  1. Topic and research question: topic that is relevant to Africa and the continent’s social issues and development. Questions should be relevant to social work from an African perspective in terms of culture, knowledge, ways of knowing & learning, theories, practice, education, research, policy, politics, economies, laws, jurisprudence, leadership, language, art and religions.
  2. Theories: use African or locally relevant social work theories, frameworks and models such as Indigenous Theory e.g. Ubuntu and approaches such as ukama or ujamaa, Family Theories, Community Theories, Decolonisation theory; Dependence Theory; Social Justice Theory; Social Development Theory, Developmental Social Work, Spirituality, African ecology, among others.
  3. Vernacular or other languages: Use of other African languages other than English for topic, abstract, key words, key sentences/phrases taken verbatim is acceptable, provided an English translation is provided and the manuscript is still within word limit is encouraged.
  4. Lived experience: acceptable because much of African literature is orature or not written. We ask that writers corroborate stories with those of others, but highlighting those things that made the stories different. Stories could be a writer’s lived experience or participant’s.
  5. African orature: we encourage you to cite oral sources (oral, largely unwritten unpublished literature) such as African proverbs, idioms, songs, stories etc.
  6. Published literature: we encourage authors to cite African literature from other African journals, books and publications in addition to those from outside. All references must be traceable.
  7. Approvals and consent: we expect authors to be relevant, authentic and clear not to duplicate ethics written in textbooks. Ethics approval is often granted by university or research authority. Research approval is often provided at the site of the research by heads of villages, other traditional leaders, county, district, community, organisation, institution etc. Consent is provided by research participants i.e. individuals, families or organisations. The consent statement must be clear about what you want participants to consent to. Ethical, approval and consent statements must be realistic, practical and have been followed. Many a times people copy and paste ethics described in text books but each research is different.

Other important information

Review time

The Editor expects review to finalise within the shortest period of receiving the manuscript. Normally the Editor expects review feedback between 14 and 30 days. In the event that reviewers require more time, this should be communicated to the Editor.

Cost of review

The review work is voluntary work.

Work load

Each reviewer may review 2 articles per publication. In rare circumstances, articles may be increased but shall not exceed 4. In such cases, review time shall be extended.


Our view of malpractice

Malpractice may constitute any or more of the following:

  1. No informed consent and permission from the people, communities and leaders involved. Consent can not happen where the research is being done in English to people who do speak English. Mechanisms such as translation should be employed.
  2. Data or research fraud (manipulation of data or reporting research that has not been done).
  3. Adding people who have not contributed significantly as co-authors.
  4. Plagiarism.
  5. Simultaneous submission.
  6. Undisclosed conflict of interest.
  7. Reviewer bias.
  8. Harm was done.
  9. Confidentiality and anonymity broken, where desired.
  10. Influencing the research process in any way the breaks research ethics.

Our response to malpractice

We promote research ethics as a way to prevent malpractice. We will not publish articles considered to have failed to adhere to research ethics. Some of the actions we will take are as follows:

  1. Communication-informing authors/reviewers and discussing the issue at hand.
  2. Clarify-a decision could be taken to clarify circumstances.
  3. Corrections (erratum, addendum or corrigendum)-a decision could be taken to correct the paper.
  4. Retractions-a decision could be taken to retract the paper.
  5. Apologise-an apology could be offered.
  6. Inform-the funder, the institution, the participants, other journals or Ethics Review Board.