Some journals allow authors to suggest preferred reviewers at submission stage. As recent events in the industry have shown, it is essential to verify the authenticity of these reviewers before deciding whether to contact them to review.
Editors should thoroughly check the details provided for every referee suggested by an author. This article illustrates how you can check each person named in the Preferred Reviewers section of the ScholarOne Manuscripts submission form to reduce the likelihood of system gaming and unethical conduct.
The External Search feature on ScholarOne Manuscripts allows you to run a quick search on a Preferred Reviewer name across a number of platforms, including Web of ScienceTM and PubMedTM. You will find the External Searches tool at the top of the screen, in the header details. When you open it you will find ScholarOne Manuscripts has automatically populated the external searches field with the names of any author’s preferred reviewers, making the search quick and easy:
Clicking on the External Searches link will show the external searches platform options to search across.
Tick the box next to the reviewer you wish to check, then click on the Web of ScienceTM link to view information about the Preferred Reviewer. Here you can check for articles they have written, and confirm that this person has relevant expertise to review the submission.
Verifying the reviewer’s email address:
An institutional email address should ideally be provided for each suggested reviewer. Preferred Reviewers should be from a different institution to the author(s) and should not have worked with or published with the author(s) to minimize the risk of conflict of interest.
It is also recommended that editors check the email address, which should be a recognized institutional address, with a suffix such as .gov, .ac, .edu, or .org. Webmail addresses can easily be set up to appear to be owned by a senior academic, whereas institutional addresses are considerably less vulnerable to misappropriation by unscrupulous persons.
To verify that the given email address is linked to a reviewer of the same name elsewhere in the literature, copy and paste the email address of the preferred reviewer into the “other” field in the External Searches box and click “Google.” This will take you to a Google Search (without the need to navigate away from your current window).
Once you have confirmed that the reviewer is suitable, authentic, and that their address is one associated with their name in an academic context elsewhere on the web, you can then invite them to review the paper. This will then also add them to the database of reviewers on your site, so that you can invite them to review papers in future.