A Few Tips on Becoming a Peer Reviewer for Journal Submissions | Tips on How to Get Your Research Published
Are you are thinking about becoming a peer reviewer for a scholarly journal that publishes academic or scientific articles in your field of specialisation? If so, it is an excellent impulse. There is a shortage of willing and qualified peer reviewers these days, so many journals are actively seeking experts to evaluate the enormous number of papers they receive from hopeful authors each week. Therefore, once you begin there will probably be no shortage of reviewing work as long as you do a good job for editors and authors, but getting started can be difficult.
If you are fortunate enough to receive an invitation from a journal editor to review a paper, it means that someone (whether editor or author) has noticed your work in a very positive way, and you should accept the offer. Do take a look at the paper to ensure that it matches your own research area closely enough that you are qualified to review it, and check your calendar as well to be sure that you will have enough time to do the review by the deadline indicated. However, if content and time do not present barriers, do not hesitate to write back to the editor with a positive response. Editors need to find reviewers as quickly as possible, so a hasty response is appropriate. Then you must learn everything you need to know about the journal and its peer review process so that you will be able to provide in your review report exactly what the editor requires. Doing a perfect job, or as near as can be, on your first review will earn you the editor’s respect and gratitude, and he or she will be very likely to solicit your help again.
Most scholars do not receive such an invitation without seeking it, but there are other ways to begin. There are now some journals, for instance, that will waive or reduce publication fees in exchange for peer reviews, requiring from each contributing author a certain number of reviews. The journal editor is thus provided with reviewers and the authors with reviewing opportunities, so consider submitting your next article to such a journal and see where it might take you.
Doing post-publication reviews of scholarly books is also wise. Such reviews make an important contribution to your scholarly community, and doing informative and interesting reviews of books will earn you recognition as an excellent reviewer. The experience is good training for peer reviewing, and the recognition may lead to invitations to do pre-publication peer reviews.
You may even want to contact journal editors directly. Many editors choose reviewers from in-house lists of qualified researchers, so the goal is to get your name on those lists. Some journals ask potential reviewers to register on their web sites, indicating specialities and the kinds of papers they would like to review. With other journals it may be a good idea to send a letter of interest to the editor along with your CV and information on your publications, research interests and reviewing experience.
You should also inform your colleagues, mentors, other members of your research network and any editors you may know that you are interested in peer reviewing. Those who already do peer reviews may be able to offer valuable advice and even recommend you to editors who are seeking reviewers. Finally, remember that conducting and publishing excellent research can bring you and your work to the attention of that editor who will send you your first review invitation.
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If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.