Interested in Peer Review
Getting involved in the peer review process can be a highly rewarding experience that can also improve your research and help to further your career.
If you’re just starting as a reviewer, don’t be deterred. Journal editors are often looking to expand their pool of reviewers, which means there will be a demand for your particular area of expertise.
Before accepting to review a manuscript reviewers should ensure that:
- The manuscript is within their area of expertise.
- They can dedicate the appropriate time to conduct a critical review of the manuscript.
WHY SHOULD YOU BECOME A PEER REVIEWER?
Peer reviewing is a form of collaboration between experts. Their critical feedback often improves research and helps propel it forward. But how does being a reviewer help your career? Here are some ways that you can benefit:
(a) Keep up with the latest research
As a reviewer, you get an early view of the exciting new research happening in your field. Not only that, peer review gives you a role in helping to evaluate and improve this new work.
(b) Improve your writing
Reviewing articles written by other researchers can give you an insight into how to improve your own. The process of reviewing encourages you to think critically about what makes an article good (or not so good). As you review more papers, you’ll start to spot common mistakes. This could relate to writing style, presentation, or the clarity of explanations. You can then use this knowledge in your writing and improve your chances of publication.
(c) Boost your career
While a lot of reviewing is anonymous, there are schemes to recognize the important contribution of reviewers. These include reviewer lists in journals, reviewer certificates, and Publons. You can also include your reviewing work on your resume. Your work as a reviewer will interest appointment or promotion committees looking for evidence of service to the profession.
(d) Become part of a journal’s community
Many journals are the centre of a network of researchers who discuss key themes and developments in the field. Becoming a reviewer is a great way to get involved with that group. This allows you to build new connections for future collaborations. Being a regular reviewer may also be the first step to becoming a member of the journal’s editorial board.
HOW CAN YOU BECOME A PEER REVIEWER?
(a) Contact the editor
Journal editors are always looking out for new reviewers, especially those with expertise in areas under-represented in the journal’s pool of contacts. If there’s a journal that you read regularly, email the editor directly. Tell them about your areas of expertise, your publication record, and your interest in reviewing. If you attend any academic conferences, these are good opportunities to meet editors who might be looking for new reviewers.
(b) Ask a senior colleague to recommend you
Is there someone who knows your work and is already involved with a journal, or regularly reviews? Ask whether they would be willing to pass on your details to the editor. They may also have some useful experience from when they first became a reviewer.
(c) Look out for calls for reviewers
Some journals make specific invitations for reviewers to get in touch. This might be the case if the journal is new or expanding its scope into a different area.
(d) Register with the journal’s database
FUJD invites aspiring reviewers to add their details to a reviewer database. For this, potential reviewers can register themselves on the Journals website along with reviewing interests and ORCID.
(e) Find a mentor
Ask a senior colleague, with experience of reviewing, whether you could work with them on a review. Some journals also run mentoring schemes, designed to help support first-time reviewers.
(f) Be visible on researcher networking sites
Academic networking sites, such as ResearchGate or Academia.edu, are opportunities to build a profile that editors looking for new reviewers can find. Make sure that your profile includes lots of detail about your current areas of research. You should also add links to any published journal articles or books.
(g) Write a paper
Many journals add authors who have published with them to their database of reviewers. While you’re unlikely to write a paper just for the opportunity to review, submitting a research paper or book review is a good way to become part of the community around that journal. It also means the editor is more likely to invite you to review when they receive a submission on a related topic to your own.