Peer review is an essential step in the publishing process. It’s also one of the most challenging areas for journal editors.
Editors are always on the lookout for new reviewers. But finding the right reviewers for every submission is difficult. It’s important for editors to ensure they're using a diverse and balanced pool of reviewers. This includes using academics at different stages of their career.
How can you get involved in peer review if you’ve never done it before?
Here’s what she told us.
1. Identify the journal you want to review for
Pick a journal you’re interested in and do your research. Read up on their aims and scope. Browse recent issues to see what kind of papers they publish.
On the journal’s homepage, you should be able to find author and reviewer guidelines. Also, take a look at their editorial policy. You’ll be a better peer reviewer for them if you know the journal well.
2. Develop your skills and knowledge
Peer reviewers play a vital role. But it’s rare for journals to provide any formal training on reviewing.
Be proactive. Develop your skills and understanding of peer review by using online resources.
Here are some useful sites:
- Taylor & Francis has produced: Best practice on how to write a review
- The Publons Academy has designed a free online course for early career researchers
3. Get some practice
This is a great way for early career researchers to practice reviewing. You can also engage in discussions with other researchers.
4. Use your academic and professional networks
Identify and research the journal you want to review for before you contact the editor. Then use your academic and professional networks to find a connection.
You might find a colleague, mentor, or supervisor who can put you in touch with the editor. Some journals have large editorial boards, so check the online board listing in case you know someone who could introduce you.
5. Contact the editor directly
And finally, don’t worry if you don’t have a connection to the journal. You can contact the editor directly. The journal homepage should list their email address.
When you contact an editor:
- Let them know you’d like to get involved with peer review
- Show your knowledge of the journal
- And highlight any previous experience or qualifications that might be relevant
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Do you have any tips for early career researchers on how to get involved in peer review?
Share your advice on Twitter using #TFReviewerTips.