Reviewer Instructions

Thank you for agreeing to review a manuscript submission to The Arrow: A Journal of Wakeful Society, Culture & Politics.

This page provides instructions to peer reviewers, including the following sections:

About The Arrow

The Arrow Journal fosters thoughtful, nuanced, and scholarly investigation of the applications of contemplative wisdom traditions to addressing global challenges. We aim to be a tool of compassionate disruption of habitual cultural, political, and economic norms that wreak havoc on people and planet. We encourage dialogue on wisdom and knowledge arising from methods of contemplative inquiry, ways of embodied knowing, and intellectual disciplines. In doing so, The Arrow provides a critical and much needed space for investigating the meeting point of contemplative wisdom and pressing social, political, and environmental challenges.

The Arrow’s Audience & Readership

Our readers are:

  • Scholars, activists, professionals, and contemplative practitioners
  • Intellectually informed and engaged in society, but not necessarily subject matter experts
  • Socially and politically active, not in an ivory tower

What do we look for in a successful article?

A successful article:

  • Balances intellectual/scholarly sophistication with accessibility to a broad, interdisciplinary audience;
  • Is attuned to the author’s own “standpoint” with respect to race, sexuality, and other dimensions of diversity, exhibiting awareness of how the author is situated within systems of power;
  • Is non-dogmatic and situates its argument on a terrain of possibility, with awareness of how someone might object;
  • When appropriate, engages the author’s perspective and voice, avoiding the abstract third person that attempts to remove the author from the discussion.

Manuscript Types

In order to engage our diverse audience, The Arrow publishes several types of manuscripts at varying length and depth. These include:

  • Articles (5,000 – 8,000 words) should follow standards for rigorous scholarly work, including a well-researched argument, engagement with relevant literature, and thorough citations.
  • Essays (2,000 – 5,000 words) provide a substantial discussion or argument on a single topic or a few closely related topics. Essays may include more personal narrative, engage in more reflective or speculative inquiry, rely less on specific bodies of literature, or offer more opinion-oriented arguments than article submissions (see above).
  • Short essays (under 2,000 words) offer a concise argument or brief comment on a single topic. Book reviews (also under 2,000 words) examine a single book.

See our Submission Guidelines for additional information.

Length of Your Review

We ask that Peer Reviewers adjust the length and depth of their review according to the type of manuscript.

  • Review for an article: 500-1000 words
  • Review for an essay: 300-500 words
  • Review for a short essay or book review: 100-300

The review to the author will be submitted via long-answer text box in our review form, so these are rough guidelines. Please feel free to take as much or as little space as needed to provide a thorough, helpful review.

Tips for Writing Your Review

We ask reviewers to offer feedback that can support authors in meeting The Arrow’s criteria for a successful manuscript.

Balancing sophistication and accessibility:

  • If a writer uses a lot of academic language or jargon that may be inaccessible to readers beyond their field, please offer suggestions to help the author make their writing more accessible and less complex.
  • If a writer is more conversational, please offer comments to help them deepen their analysis, detail their process, and clarify their ideas.

Constructive criticism:

  • Open and close general comments to the author with a positive reflection on how the author’s submission contributes to the journal’s discourse. If possible, try to include a few positive comments on specific points that authors make. This helps authors to know what they did well so they can build off of it when making cuts or revisions.
  • When offering critique, be specific about what is problematic and try to provide an avenue for improvement.

In your comments to the author, please be friendly!

  • Strive for a balance between rigor and sensitivity in your comments. Spirituality and wisdom practices can be delicate topics. Help the authors achieve high-quality writing with guidance that offers constructive criticism that takes our commitment to racial and social justice seriously.
  • Avoid using second person “you” and “your” statements with respect to what the author says, as this language can come across as accusatory or personal, even if this is not the intention. Instead, refer to “the” argument or “the” point on such-and-such page.

How to Submit Your Peer Review

You can submit your peer review via the linked Google Form in the same email that we sent you containing the manuscript and the link to this reviewer guidelines page. (We don’t link to the Google Form here because the form can vary based on the specific issue to which a manuscript is submitted.)

The review form will ask you to provide an assessment of the quality of the manuscript across several dimensions, written comments to the author, confidential written comments to the editor, and an overall recommendation on how The Arrow should proceed.

These are relatively new guidelines for reviewers. We would love feedback from you about anything that could be added or changed for clarity. Feel free to contact the editor who requested your review.