Peer Review Policy

Peer review guidelines

This journal follows a double-blind peer review model. In line with the aims and mission of the journal, papers are normally peer reviewed by two independent academic experts, and additional or supplementary reviews by experts from the policy community may be sought to ensure high-quality, impactful publications that are both academically rigorous and policy relevant.

Reviewers are expected to observe the Ethics Policy of Transnational Corporations, including the documents referenced in it, and are encouraged to read and observe the COPE ethical guidelines for peer reviewers. Those who oversee the peer review process are expected to recognize warning signs of misconduct and to report any concerns to the editorial office.

The criteria against which manuscripts are assessed include (i) fit with the aims and scope of the journal; (ii) adherence to generally accepted academic standards in terms of originality, significance and rigour, as well as to the criteria of high-quality research and analysis set out in United Nations publication policies, and specifically UNCTAD’s Publication Policy; and (iii) policy relevance and potential to contribute to policy debates and evidence-based policymaking.

Review process

  • Manuscripts are initially screened by the Managing Editor for completeness and adherence to the formal aspects of the Guidelines for Contributors. Manuscripts may be returned to authors to remedy issues before progression to the Editors’ desk.
  • The Editor-in-Chief and/or Deputy Editors assess submissions and decide whether they are suitable for progression to the next stage of the review process on the basis of fit to the scope of journal, publishing standards of the journal and interest for the policy community.
  • Papers that pass the Editors’ desk will be assigned an Associate Editor with the requisite subject area expertise (depending on the particular subject area of the manuscript, this role may also be assumed by one of the Editors). The Associate Editor assesses the manuscript and decides if it warrants progression to the peer review stage and if so, selects reviewers and oversees the subsequent review process.
  • Papers that pass the Associate Editor stage will be reviewed typically by two peer reviewers who are experts in the field(s), with the selection of peer reviewers also taking into account the research methods and geographical focus of the paper. Supplementary reviews or policy guidance may be sought from relevant experts of the policy community (facilitated by the Editors).
  • Based on the reviewer reports, Associate Editors will recommend to the Editors a decision on the manuscript.
  • The final decision rests with the Editors.

Special cases

  • Editors are excluded from publication decisions when they are authors or have contributed to a manuscript. In such cases the review process and publication decision will be overseen by an alternate Editor.
  • Guest Editors of Special Issues or Focused Sections are excluded from the review process and publication decisions when they are authors of or contributors to a manuscript. In such cases, the review process and publication decision will be overseen by one of the Editors of the journal.
  • The review process for UNCTAD Insights articles adheres to the same rigour as for externally submitted papers, but it is adjusted to reflect the nature of UNCTAD Insights (see Editorial Statement). The review is overseen by the Editors. Articles are typically assessed in the first instance by a member of the editorial team and then peer reviewed by experts with requisite subject and technical expertise drawn from UNCTAD, other international organizations and academia.

Communications with authors

At each stage of the review process, authors will be provided reasoned and constructive feedback about the decisions on their manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

Assigned Associate Editors and reviewers should inform the Editors of any potential conflicts with the assigned manuscript, for instance, resulting from competitive, collaborative or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies or institutions. In such instances they should inform the editors and recuse themselves from the review process.


Manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. The confidentiality of participants in the review process is protected.


Appeals against editorial decisions require a formal appeal letter with point-by-point evidence supporting the appeal. In line with generally accepted standards, appeals are considered only on the basis of (i) reviewers’ potential technical errors in their assessment of the manuscript, (ii) new information or data that has come to light since submission of manuscript and (iii) evidence as to potential conflicts of interest of reviewers. Appeals against an editorial decision must be submitted within 14 days of the decision notice.

One appeal per manuscript is allowed. The Editor-in-Chief will consult the editorial team and where appropriate seek further advice from members of the Editorial Advisory Board. The decision of the Editor-in-Chief is final.

Appeal letters should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief and should be submitted to the editorial office (