for reviewers

At archipelagos we are working to build a community of reviewers and contributors so to sustain and enrich our collective Caribbeanist scholarship. If you would like to join our team of reviewers—to help us review articles and digital projects—please contact us at

Table of Contents

Review Guidelines for Digital Projects

archipelagos accepts mid-stage digital scholarship projects beyond the article or monograph format for single-blind review. Our review process is crafted in accordance with the DHCommons model, with some additions and revisions. Once peer review is completed, projects are “launched” via a dedicated page on the archipelagos platform. This landing page features a brief description of and link to the project, along with excerpts of audio, visual, and other multimedia elements. This page also provides a link to (a curated version of) the dialogue between site authors and peer reviewers. Click for an example.

Project review occurs in two phases:

  1. Authors submit a Project statement of 300 to 500 words. Reviewers will offer initial feedback within four to six weeks.

  2. Authors respond to reviewer feedback in a 1000-to-1200-word narrative and provide a link to a navigable beta site for final review.

The Editors synthesize reviewer comments and the response from the author for final publication on a dedicated project page.

Our review guidelines are separated into four categories: Contribution, Credit, Design, and Preservation.


We ask reviewers to carefully weigh the de facto or possible intellectual contribution of the project. Reviewers should consider the nature of that contribution appropriate to the current stage of the project’s development and consider early signs of process-derived knowledge; the project’s relationship to existing literature/projects; and/or early conversations in the literature about the project (where appropriate).

  • Will the project frame new conversations in the relevant subject area?
  • Are the methods used in the project appropriate to the research questions it poses?
  • Do the project’s methods contribute to digital scholarship in general, and if so, how?


We ask reviewers to be conscious of the labor that went into the making of a digital project. Digital projects generally depend on more distributed collaboration than monographs or articles. archipelagos encourages the crediting of work where credit is due and the acknowledgment of the scholarly and interpretative work involved in data curation, design, and the engineering of digital projects. Reviewers should ask the following questions of a project:

  • Does the project credit its contributors openly and fairly?
  • Are the labor conditions under which the project was produced made evident?
  • Does the work cite its (digital scholarship) precedents and data sources appropriately?


Although design constitutes a separate category of review, we ask reviewers to understand design in terms of its relationship to the purported intellectual contribution of a given project. For archipelagos, design includes back-end architecture, workflow, and front-end interface design. We ask reviewers to consider the overall temporal and technical structure of a project and how this structure relates to the goals of the project. A reviewer may ask questions like

  • How do effort and resources used in the project match its import?

  • How do the graphic and UX design elements of the front end contribute to the goals of the intellectual contribution? (When considering the public-facing design, reviewers should not place undue weight on “ease of use” or “glossy design” but rather consider whether the project’s features fit the intellectual mission of the project and the resources the project’s team had available to them.)

  • How does the back-end architecture hinder or move forward the contribution of the project and perhaps link it to existing digital scholarship projects?


When considering the life cycle of a digital scholarship project, reviewers should not to consider preservation in terms of indefinite periods of time. We encourage authors to be realistic about the plausible rate of decay of their projects and to have plans in place to manage the obsolescence of the technologies they use. We welcome projects with a minimum of two years post-beta support. We encourage our reviewers, therefore, to look for signs that the project team has considered the project’s future. Possible questions are

  • What standards have been used and why?

  • How robust is the documentation on the project? Could the project be decomposed and recomposed based on this documentation?

  • How is the project managing its rate of decay?

  • Is the level of complexity of the project appropriate for its sociotechnical or institutional context?

  • How conscious is the project team regarding the life cycle of the project?

Review of Articles: A Brief Note

Our reviewers are expected to maintain the highest academic standards in the review of scholarly articles for publication in archipelagos. Since many of our articles are media-rich—linking prose arguments rhetorically to visuals—we ask our reviewers also to provide feedback on the figures, images, and interactives used in articles.