Guidelines for referees

At Quantum, peer review should work towards improving papers. Referees are not expected to read through pages of complicated guidelines for refereeing or the full editorial policies. In order to obtain fair, meaningful, comparable, and maximally objective reports that focus on estimating the scientific quality of a submission, referees will be asked specific questions in an online form to be filled out in the browser.

When answering these question as a referee for Quantum, please keep in mind that it is a highly selective journal. Correct but incremental work is below threshold. A very significant technical or conceptual contribution is necessary for acceptance in Quantum.  In other words, the paper should be very relevant to experts in the field. Quantum publishes three types of manuscripts, with the following acceptance criteria:

  1. Original research that:
    • Significantly advances the particular sub-field of quantum science
    • Contains a very significant technical or conceptual contribution
    • Provides evidence that the employed methods or obtained results go significantly beyond the state of the art
  2. Reviews that:
    • Address a need for a standard reference on a topic or fill a gap in the literature
    • Summarize a coherent body of knowledge in a way that facilitates further progress
    • Cover the relevant literature comprehensively and concisely
  3. Software showcases that:
    • Demonstrate the ability of a newly introduced software package to address a significant scientific challenge and facilitate further progress
    • Show that such software has capabilities that clearly go beyond the state of the art


Please refer to the detailed selectivity criteria for more information.

If you think a work should be published in Quantum you must make a case for it.

Looking for your active referrals? Log in on Scholastica.

Reviewer form (preview)

Private feedback

Visible only to editors:

  • Overall rating (1-5 stars).
  • For this manuscript, I recommend: “Accept as it is” / “Revise and resubmit” / “Reject.”
  • General comments for the editor.
  • Would you be willing to referee an updated version of this work before a final decision is made?
  • If this work is accepted, would you be willing to write a short Perspective based on your report?
  • How was your reviewing experience? Is there anything you would like us to improve?

Open response questions

Visible to editors and authors:

  • Summary: what are the main questions posed by the manuscript and how does it answer them?
  • What is your assessment of the paper? If you recommend acceptance, make a case that this work does indeed make a significant contribution to scholarship.
  • To what extent have you checked the technical correctness of the paper?
  • Comment on the presentation of the paper. Is it well written? Are the main results clearly laid out? Does the manuscript clearly describe assumptions and limitations? Is the literature review adequate?
  • If the submission includes numerical or physical experiments, does it provide sufficient details such that they could be reproduced by readers? This includes for example source code, documentation, experimental data, experimental setup specifications, etc.
  • Suggested changes, corrections, and general comments.

Further guidelines

No strict deadlines

Quantum does not impose any strict deadlines on authors or referees. We believe that authors that seriously want to get their work published will re-submit their works as fast as possible and we think it is crucial to give referees the time they need to evaluate a work.

In the initial referral, referees will be asked to submit their review within 30 days and are encouraged to inform the editor if they predict it will take longer. Should the referee accept to review the submission, they will receive an automatic reminder (including a link to the review functionality) a week before the proposed deadline. If no report is submitted in the given time, the editor will get back to the referee to confirm their willingness to write a report. If the referees are unresponsive, editors will assume that they cannot make it, and will invite further referees.

Conflicts of interest

Referees should declare whether there exists a potential conflict of interest regarding a particular submission, and, if appropriate, exclude themselves from handling that submission. Reasons for conflict of interests include: close collaboration with the author(s), personal relations with the authors, concurrent competitive research, same institution, and financial co-dependence.