Capacious
Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry
Credit: Worship at the 2011 BASIC conference, 2011, Kelly (CC BY 3.0)

Reviewer Guidelines

Because Capacious is a journal primarily oriented to publishing work by graduate students, reviewers are expected to frame their reviews from a perspective of mentorship and with an ethos of community building. As the journal is especially interested in essays that might unsettle rather than reinforce the status quo of scholarship in affect study, the expectation is that our journal reviewers will respond to such challenges and differences, as they might arise, in a collegial spirit that is generous and rigorous at the same time. When composing one’s editorial feedback on submissions, reviewers should always take into account (and be reminded of their own feelings of being in) the position of a fresh-faced scholar venturing into what might be one of their first opportunities for publication.

The managing editor reserves the right to sand off the rough edges of any review that displays an abundance of sharp elbows before passing such reviews along to authors. We also will appreciate those reviewers who feel able to sign their reviews and, thus, perhaps open a relationship with the authors extending through and beyond this Capacious encounter. In the best of all worlds, reviewers will find a way to strike a balance between hard-won advice and focused critique, between commentary that points out, say, a glaring theoretical blindspot and commentary that provides supple guidance through critical-conceptual minefields. We cannot overemphasize how important a gracious and considerate etiquette of refereeing means to the convivial atmospheres of Capacious!

Here are the main criteria that reviewers will be asked to consider when writing their responses to journal submissions:

Readability

Do the title and abstract reflect the content of the essay adequately? Is the essay well written? Is the writing largely free of typos, spelling, citational and grammar mistakes? (Note: it is not among the reviewer’s tasks to correct such things but, if there is an abundance, this should certainly be noted.) Although quite likely an early career research or graduate student, does the writer’s own point of view and voice emerge as distinct from their references? Do you think that our journal readers will find the essay to be engaging, pleasurable, a densely packed theory-struggle, boring?

Coherence

Can you readily identify the core argument and sub-themes of the essay? Is the through-line of its main argument easy to follow? Is there need for further clarification on certain points? Does the assemblage and deployment of critical-conceptual / theoretical knowledge enhance or clot the strength of the essay’s argument/presentation? Do certain ideas / examples /theories mesh effectively or clash? Are quotations and the cited use of others’ work adequately framed and developed? Does the essay’s reach match or exceed its grasp (do the essay’s conclusions fit with its premises?)?

Relevance

Does the author display an adequate grasp of the relevant literature in the specific area of affect study that forms the basis for this essay? Does the essay break some new ground? Is it largely a rehash of existing arguments and ideas? Do you have tightly focused suggestions for resources might address any particular scholarly blindspots or conceptual misunderstandings evidenced in the essay? Is the essay too reliant upon theory jargon and/or uniquely refined terminology derived from a specific disciplinary viewpoint that could affect its accessibility to readers from other disciplines? At the level of citation and argument-construction, does the essay reveal a capacity to engage beyond the ‘usual suspects’ and bring new voices, fresh perspectives, and procedures of inquiry into the study of affect?

Overall impression

What are the essay’s major weaknesses and strengths? What does the essay contribute to contemporary conversations and debates about affect? Is the essay ‘capacious’: does it open up space for more engagement? does it provoke and stir without shutting down or shutting out other voices/methodologies/scenes of scholarly investigation? Did you find yourself persuaded or your attention captured by a novel or nuanced understanding about the study of affect as advanced in this essay? Are there any final encouraging words and advice that you wish pass along to the author(s) about the work that they’ve undertaken with this submission and the trajectory that they are following?

Refereed reviews should be approximately 1.5-2 pages (or more) of carefully considered commentary based on the above criteria and – with reviewer etiquette foremost in mind – composed with the author(s) of the essay as the reviewer’s sole audience. That is, as much as possible, Capacious would like to avoid the two sets of remarks that are often standard at other journals: one for the authors and another set for the journal editors. If there are circumstances that require a separate line of communication to the journal editors about the quality of an essay and the abilities of the authors, then we want to make such unique circumstances the exception and not the rule. We believe that the task of reviewing should be as transparent as possible, and indeed we will encourage our reviewers to sign their reviews.

Along with the above written commentary, we ask referees to also indicate which of the following categories best fits your evaluation of the essay:

Accept

The submission is well written, clearly argued, and makes an original contribution to the study of affect. It will be published in Capacious without need for further revision.

Conditional accept

The submission needs only a few very minor revisions/corrections, and the managing editor – working with the author(s) – will oversee their quick completion.

Accept with minor changes

The revisions that are necessary are minor, but acceptance is dependent upon authors adequately revising the paper in light of reviewer comments. Further rewriting/revision is necessary but once completed, and checked by the editorial team, the submission is likely to be accepted.

Revise and resubmit

The submission needs to be thoroughly rethought. Substantial rewriting and reframing must be done before the author(s) can resubmit. Authors asked to revise and resubmit must compose a brief cover letter outlining how they have specifically addressed the reviewers’ concerns, please see Responding to Reviewers’ Comments for guidance.

Reject

The submission falls short of the journal’s expectations of scholarship in the study of affect and does not warrant further consideration by Capacious. The managing editor will try to offer scholarly advice, guidance, and constructive feedback about other venues or future possibilities for this work.

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