Critical Friend Service


The Journal of Research and Innovation in Higher Education (JRIHE) seeks to innovate not only in its themes, structure or audience, but also in the way to help its potential contributors. We refer to one such approach as a "critical friend". Through the use of this mechanism, a limited number of contributors will be able to receive more rigorous feedback on their work. One of the goals of the journal is to provide a platform for young/early career scholars to further develop and successfully publish their work, and more elaborate feedback by critical friend (an expert scholar) should assist in this endeavor.

A critical friend approach requires substantial work from contributors as well as a critical friend. In order to be considered for such a service, contributor(s) must submit a formal application by contacting journal directly. The application should contain:

1. Motivation letter – where contributor(s) should explain how they can benefit from the critical friend service and why should their manuscript be considered.
2. Manuscript – written and edited in line with JRIHE rules (see Aurors Guidelines page). The manuscript should be finalized and contain all the elements of normal journal contribution (abstract, introduction, literature review/theoretical positioning, methods, analysis, discussion and conclusion).

Application should be sent to:

Incomplete or unedited manuscripts will not be considered.

Upon receiving the request, the editorial team evaluates it, and if the submitted manuscript is in line with the JRIHE aims and scope, the team looks for a suitable critical friend based on JRIHE's peer reviewer pool and expertise. If one or more such potential critical friends are identified, the editorial team will contact them and inquire whether they would be willing and have the time to participate within the set deadline. If the expert scholar agrees, then the application is approved and JRIHE will connect two parties.

Critical friends are requested to:

1. Read and prepare for a more extensive evaluation of the manuscript, that includes not only critiques of the written work, but also substantial suggestions and feedback on how to improve the manuscript, including new/missing literature, new/better methods, as well as suggestions regarding the improvement and use of theory, empirical research, and analysis.
2. Critical friend then participates in an online discussion (Zoom, Teams, etc.) with the authors of the article to provide extensive and substantial feedback and suggestions for improvement.
3. Critical friends are required to read and prepare comments on the manuscript and dedicate 1-2 hours to meeting and conversation with authors (one time exercise), within one month of accepting the role.
4. Due to ethical limitations, critical friends will not be able to join the manuscript team as co-authors at a later stage.

The additional benefit of this approach is that authors can get in touch with experts in the field personally and have a chance to share ideas/network/learn from each other. Considering that anonymity would not be possible in this case, the critical friend would not serve as a peer reviewer, and the peer-review task would be conducted in the third step by another scholar, should the author decide to engage in publishing process with JRIHE.

Contributors will be strongly encouraged to continue to peer review stage with JRIHE if selected for critical friend service.

Critical friend service does not guarantee automatic publishing in JRIHE nor is a substitute for a standard peer-review process (see Peer Review section on JRIHE website).

Young/early career scholars will have advantage in using critical friend service.

Critical friend service is free of charge.

It is important to highlight the fact that the critical friend service is not automatically provided. Only in the case where a potential critical friend is identified and agrees to cooperate, the critical friend service is offered. The editorial team reserves the right to decline the critical friend service.