How to Write a Review for Knowledge Blog

Kblog is an open environment based around providing as much access to information as possible. This includes the reviewing process. All reviews are publicly accessible, as are the identities of the reviewers. This differs significantly from the blind peer-review system in place for many journals, but is common in the process of many standards committees. Depending on the kblog level being used, the review may have been requested by the author of the article, the editor of the journal, or may not have been directly requested but stem from an open request for comments. This article describes both the intellectual and technical process of writing a review.


Robert Stevens
School of Computer Science
University of Manchester
United Kingdom

Phillip Lord
School of Computing Science
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

Writing the Review

We consider first the intellectual process; writing a review for a kblog is similar to reviewing for any other journal. The review should consider the content in the main article, and are free to comment on both the content, its importance and the presentation of this content.

In terms of the content, the reviewers should comment on the strengths of an individual article, and its relevance, as well as highlighting any weaknesses. Authors may or may not address these weaknesses in the final version of the article; if they do not, then the review serves as a public statement of the reviewer’s perception. Reviewers should also feel free to add references or links to other alternative interpretations if they feel that these are relevant.

In terms of presentation, we suggest that reviewers take advantage of the open review process; they are free to contact authors directly, and minor comments (“repeated word in paragraph 2”) can be dealt with out-of-band of the kblog process if the reviewer so wishes. Although the kblog process ensures that all versions of both articles and reviews will be publically available, minor comments of this sort will tend to clutter the review, and are unlikely to relevant to the final version.

Finally, the review should conclude with a clear statement as to whether the reviewer considers the article in its current form should be considered as complete and reviewed. This decision is not binding on authors or editors but again serves as a public statement.

Publishing the review

Next we consider the technical process of writing a review. The aim of the publishing process is two-fold: first, the content of the review should be made publicly available and; second it should be obviously and bi-directionally linked to the article in question as a review.

There are three principle ways to achieve this: the review as an local article; the review as a comment; and, the review as a remote article. Most reviewers will wish to follow the first or second of these. The third option is, currently, technically possible but not well-developed.

The review as an article

Most reviews will be in the form of an article, the technical process for which has been described previously. This form of review is most appropriate when the reviewers wish to make reasonably substantial comments about an article; if the review is to be very short, reviewers may wish to consider using a comment instead.

In order to ensure that the review is linked to the article in question, it should start with a statement such as: This is a review of the article “How to write an article”

This hyperlink will ensure that readers will be able to find the original article. In addition, a linkback will be created which will appear as a comment in the reviewed article, which should be easily identified because of the text.

Finally, the review should be categorised as a review, as opposed to a primary article.

The review as a comment

Where the review is very short, the reviewer is free to use the comment facility within kblog directly. The advantages of doing this is only really in simplicity and convenience. However, it comes with significant issues. It will not usually be possible to use any form of markup or structure (it will be one block of text), and editing must be done within WordPress.

As with a local article, the comment should start with a statement identifying itself as a review.

The review as remote article

The linkback technology that links together articles and reviews works perfectly well between articles on totally different websites. This means that it is theoretically possible to publish reviews on a remote site. A reviewer might wish to do this, so that all of their reviews are in one place, or to make use of specialist technology running only on their own blog site.

While this works, it has disadvantages, principly in terms of archiving; for example, the knowledgeblog domain is archived by the UK Web Archive which may not work across other domains.

Otherwise, the process is the same as for a local review.


Writing a review for a kblog article, should present relatively few technological challenges for most authors, and none for reviewers who have already written an article. The content should be equivalent to that for an other journal, although the reviewers may wish to take advantage of the openness of the review process for small proceedural comments.

The reviews for a kblog article are treated in the same way as a primary article. They are archived, publically available and demonstrate the contribution of the reviewer to the publication process in a way that is not true for a blind peer-review process.