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SWP Publications – Quality Management

The quality of SWP publications is guaranteed by four principal elements:

  1. All researchers and authors are bound by the general principles of good academic practice.

  2. SWP publications are subject to internal review. The type of review depends on the publication: SWP Comments (and in German SWP-Aktuells and SWP-Zeit­schrif­ten­schau) are reviewed by the Director of Research; SWP Research Papers (and in German SWP-Studien) are reviewed first by a colleague, and then by the Director or another member of the Executive Board.

  3. SWP Comments (and SWP-Aktuells) are fact-checked by a member of the Information and Knowledge Management team.

  4. All German-language publications are internally copy-edited; English-language publications – whether written in English or translated – are finalised by external native speakers.

1. Principles of good academic practice

The academic quality of published research is underpinned by internal mechanisms. In addition to discussions within the Research Divisions, various institute-wide formats promote debate. Proposals for Research Papers are regularly presented and discussed at a bi-weekly forum attended by all the Institute’s research staff. A Research Advisory Board composed of leading academics from universities from relevant disciplines advises the Institute on all topical and interdisciplinary questions related to its research programme.

2. Internal review procedures

a. Single-stage review for SWP Comments (and SWP-Aktuell/SWP-Zeitschriftenschau)

Our short-format publications are reviewed by the Director of Research, who decides whether the piece needs to be revised and authorises publication. The principal criteria are: current relevance for German and European foreign and security policy, analysis reflecting deep knowledge of the academic and political discussion, precision and depth in describing issues and political processes, interpretation and contextualisation of problems and developments, and consistency of conclusions and policy recommendations.

b. Two-stage review process for SWP Research Papers (SWP-Studien)

Stage one: peer review

SWP Research Papers (SWP-Studien) are peer-reviewed in the language in which they are originally written. The first review is normally prepared by a colleague from a different Research Division. The reviewer will possess knowledge of the topic through their own research work and be familiar enough with the international research and the academic and political debates to be able to assess the study’s academic and political contribution.

The written peer-review supplies a comprehensive, critical and constructive assessment of the text and a recommendation to publish (or not), possibly following revision. The peer-review is communicated to the author who undertakes the first revision or awaits the stage-two review.

Stage two: Review by Director or other member of Executive Board

The second review is normally prepared by the Institute Director, on the basis of the first peer-review. The second review focuses on: political relevance of the research question, appropriateness of chosen methods, stringency of argumentation, quality and originality of findings, consistency of conclusions and recommendations, and quality of presentation. Revision and resubmission may be required. Authorisation to proceed to editing is given by the Executive Board member responsible for the review.

3. Fact-check

SWP Comments (and SWP-Aktuells) are published without footnotes or references. Instead the authors are required to reveal their literature and sources during a fact-checking stage following review by the Director of Research. The fact-check is carried out by the Information and Knowledge Management team, whose members possess specific disciplinary, linguistic and regional knowledge.

The fact-checker verifies that relevant statements are actually backed by the indicated sources and checks assertions of fact, whether or not they are referenced with sources. The process also covers direct and indirect quotes, time statements (dates, years, timespans), figures in text and tables, all types of statistical data, and spelling of geographical and personal names.

4. Editing

The Editorial Office is responsible for preparing German-language SWP texts for pu­bli­ca­tion, editing manuscripts for content, style, language and formal criteria. The editors ensure that texts are clear, readable, logical and consistent. Proofreading ensures correct ortho­graphy, grammar, punctuation and typography. English-language texts are finalised by experienced external translators and editors.