Journal of Higher Education in Prison



Review Process

Review Process and Timeline


The Journal of Higher Education in Prison (JHEP) is guided by the following values: 

  • Open-Access: We believe that knowledge should be freely available to everyone, regardless of social status or current location.
  • Transparent: We believe it should be the discretion of reviewers and the author(s) to choose an “open” or “masked” process and we support efforts to demystify the publishing process.
  • Community-Focused: We believe that the advancement of the field of higher education in prison is dependent on co-learning and collaboration.

In line with these values, JHEP offers two types of reviews: Unmasked or Masked. An Unmasked Review is also referred to as an Open Review and provides the most transparency in the process from submission to publication.  

Unmasked Review Process

In this type of review, the author(s) and reviewers identify one another throughout the process and communicate in real-time via a secured online shared document. Both the author(s) and reviewers may make suggestions, comments, and responses in a back-and-forth manner similar to a chat tool or a Google Document at any time during the review process. All text in the online document will be recorded and used in the assigned editor’s decision to move the manuscript forward. Editors may also engage in the online discussion with both the author(s) and reviewers during this process. This typeof review process tends to shorten the time to publication by reducing the feedback timeline.

The author(s) may keep identifying information including names, affiliations, and citations of prior work, in all parts of the manuscript (title page, body, references, etc.).

Reviewers may include any identifying information in correspondence with the author(s). In addition to the online shared document, reviewers will also write summaries of their suggestions and comments to the assigned editor recommending whether or not the manuscript should move forward.Reviewers may choose to share their summaries with the author(s).

Some correspondence within the Unmasked Review Process will still remain confidential. Reviewers and the author(s) may directly communicate with the assigned editor at any time via regular email or the online journal portal and are not required to include one another in every correspondence.Editors will send a detailed decision regarding the next step for the manuscript directly to the author(s) and will not include reviewers in this correspondence. Reviewers will receive a general email stating whether the manuscript will move forward in the review process or may be asked to review it in a second round. All parties may continue open discussion in the shared document until the submission is closed.

The timeline for an unmasked review depends upon how prompt the author(s) and reviewers respond to one another in the shared document. A guideline for completion of one round of an unmasked review is approximately four weeks (in most cases).

Masked Review Process

When the author(s) submit manuscripts for a Masked Review, they remain anonymous to reviewers during the review process. The manuscript must not include any identifying information such as the author(s)’ names, affiliations, or meta-data associated with the file. The author must (1) include a title page with identifying information; and (2) mask any identifying information within the abstract, body of the manuscript, references, and appendices.

Reviewers’ identities will not be revealed to the author(s) at any time during the review process, or afterwards. Reviewers are instructed to assure that there is no identifying information in their reviews or in any comments to be sent to the author(s). Correspondence will be between editors and reviewers, and editors and the author(s). Reviewers and the author(s) will not directly communicate with each other. The author(s) will receive the reviews via their assigned editor after each stage of the review process until completion (acceptance or nonacceptance for publication).

A guideline for completion of one round of a Masked review is approximately 12 weeks.


Manuscripts are editor pre-screened before they are sent out for review by 2-3 external reviewers. Authors should expect to hear from an editor within the first four weeks of submission to find out if the manuscript has been approved at pre-screening. If a manuscript continues to external review, the editors will contact authors within 8-12 weeks for a Masked review, after the review process has been completed. For an Unmasked review, the editors will contact authors at the beginning of the review process.

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