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A Note to Readers of NASA Historical Manuscripts

First of all, thank you for serving as a peer reviewer for the NASA History Program.  Our reputation for high standards of scholarship rests on subject matter experts like you who are willing to take the time to read our manuscripts carefully and provide detailed feedback.

Timeliness is important.  We have many projects in work at any given time and keeping the flow moving is a matter of careful planning.  In addition, many of our authors are under contract to meet a deadline for the completed work.  Our feedback to them in a timely fashion is critical to their success and ours.  If some unanticipated problem should arise and you think you may not be able to respond by the date we’ve asked you to meet, please let us know as soon as possible. 

We want your unvarnished critical opinion of the manuscript we’ve sent you.  To facilitate this we conduct a “blind” peer review.  We will not reveal your participation in this review to the author, unless you specifically ask us to do so. Please do not contact the author directly, without letting us know.

The overall objective of this peer review process is to get your feedback on the quality, the accuracy and the readability of the draft manuscript.  Don’t worry about the grammar or spelling (we have eagle-eyed copyeditors who will deal with that after the peer review).  Your goal is to answer these questions:

  1. Is the work original?
  2. Is the scholarship sound?
  3. Are there errors of fact or judgment? (be specific)
  4. Is it readable and appropriately organized?

We will send you copies of our Microsoft Word files of the manuscript and a reviewer number.  In order to maintain your anonymity, please adjust your user information so that your comments are labeled with your reviewer number (e.g., “Reviewer 2”). (See below.) Please use the “track changes” tool to insert comments or corrections and do not “accept” them so that we can easily spot them. 

Feel free to mark up the manuscript as much or as little as you like, to ask questions, take issue with fact or judgment, and to point out sources of information that you think the author may have overlooked.  If you think a change or correction is essential, say so.  The goal is to help the author and the editors produce the best possible book. 

When you are done, save the files and send them back to us.  When you do, please send us a cover note (email is fine) to give us your overall impression and answer the 4 questions above.  We will review your comments and then forward them to the author.  The author is required to respond effectively to your comments and questions, so please make them constructive and as actionable as possible.

If you are not able to use Microsoft Word and the track changes mode, please let us know so that we can work out a suitable alternative approach. 

Adjusting your user information in Microsoft Word:

In recent versions of Microsoft Word for Windows, you can find the “Change User Name” option on the Track Changes pull-down menu on the “Review” tab.  For Mac users, go to “Word,” “Preferences,” and under “Personal Settings” click on “User Information.”  In both cases make sure that you delete your information in the “First,” “Last,” and “Initials” boxes.  Write your reviewer number in one of those boxes instead.  Don’t forget to go back and re-enter your information after you have sent the manuscript back to us. 

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