Reviewer Guidelines for Child Development Perspectives


Child Development Perspectives (CDP) emphasizes brief, well synthesized reviews of research, typically describing emerging lines of inquiry. The journal also publishes essays on policy, methods, and on other topics suitable for the readership. Papers are welcome from all fields that inform modern developmental science.

Most articles appearing in CDP are invited by editorial staff but we also consider author-initiated proposals. For this latter category, authors first submit a 500-word proposal that is sent to reviewers. If the evaluation is favorable, then authors are encouraged to submit a full manuscript, which is also reviewed.

Reviewing Author-Initiated Proposals

If you’re reviewing a proposal, please consider the following points:

  • Is the proposal likely to yield a successful paper? Specifically,
    1. would the paper describe an emerging, cutting-edge body of work or provide a provocative new reformulation of a mature body of knowledge?
    2. is there a relevant literature that can buttress the authors’ arguments? and
    3. can the arguments be developed adequately in 3,000 words (which is a firm limit)?
    If the answer to each of these questions is “yes,” the proposal would seem to be a good candidate.
  • If done well, would the article appeal to a reasonably broad segment of the journal’s readership? Of course any submission should appeal to experts working in the area. However, please consider whether the article would appeal to general readers as well. Would non-specialists consider the article to be essential reading to keep abreast of new, important developments in the field?

Your review can be brief—typically between a paragraph and a page. If you recommend that the proposal be declined, your review could consist of a single paragraph citing a few reasons why the proposal is not a good candidate. If, instead, you recommend that the proposal be developed into a full manuscript, the review might be as long as a page, with suggested points for authors to consider while revising.

Finally, when authors are invited to turn their proposal into a full manuscript, it will be reviewed with the expectation that it will likely (but not necessarily) result in a published article. That is, the aim of peer review of the full manuscript will be to provide the author with feedback that will result in the best possible manuscript.

Because that process requires substantial editorial resources, please do not encourage proposals that seem marginal, with the expectation that later review will determine whether the manuscript “works.” The purpose of reviewing proposals is to identify those that seem very likely to translate into the sort of exciting article that we’d like to publish in the journal.

Reviewing Full Manuscripts

As noted above, full manuscripts are invited by the editorial staff, with the expectation that the paper is likely to be published. Of course, despite everyone’s best intentions, not all manuscripts are going to be successful. If your opinion is that the manuscript has problems that preclude publication, feel free to say so.

However, the expectation is that most full manuscripts will, with suitable constructive feedback, pass muster and be published. Thus, your task is to provide the sort of useful comments that will allow authors to fine-tune their writing, typically by suggesting ways in which authors can strengthen and clarify their arguments. As you comment, please keep in mind that:

  • Authors are encouraged to highlight their own work. That said, please note when other relevant research could be cited.
  • Articles need to be accessible to the entire CDP readership, not just to specialists in the area. Please identify any portions of the text that may be difficult for the general reader to follow.
  • Manuscripts are strictly limited to 3,000 words, which means that authors do not have the liberty to develop all ideas in great depth.

Please limit your comments to a page. As a general rule, editors prefer a relatively brief review that’s on time over a much longer review that is several weeks late. Our goal is to publish engaging summaries of exciting new lines of inquiry and thus editors want to move manuscripts through the pipeline as promptly as possible.

Thank you very much for sharing your expertise with Child Development Perspectives. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at