How to become a peer reviewer

Peer Review Week 2018

In a previous post we looked at the many reasons why you should consider becoming a reviewer. Reviewing can benefit your own research career, as well as providing an essential service to the scholarly community.

But once you’ve decided that you’d like to become a reviewer, how can you get involved? Try the following tips to help open doors to new reviewing opportunities:

Contact the editor

Journal editors are always looking out for new reviewers, especially reviewers who are expert in areas that aren’t already well represented in the journal’s pool of contacts. If there is a journal which you read regularly, email the editor directly. Tell them about your areas of expertise, your publication record, and let them know you’re interested in reviewing. If you attend any academic conferences these can also be good opportunities to speak to editors who might be looking for new reviewers.

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.

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.

Register with the journal’s publisher

Some publishers invite aspiring reviewers to add their details to a reviewer database. For example, Dove Press has a reviewer registration page which allows you to enter your research specialisms and select the journals you would be interested in reviewing for.

Find a mentor

Ask a senior colleague, who has plenty of experience of reviewing, whether you could work with them on a review. You could even ask the editor’s permission to take over leading on a review that they had assigned to your colleague. Some journals also run mentoring schemes, designed to help support those who have never reviewed before.

Be visible on researcher networking sites

Academic networking sites, such as ResearchGate or Academia.edu, give you the opportunity to develop 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.

Write a paper

Many journals add the names of authors who have published with them to their database of reviewers. While you are unlikely to write a paper just to get the opportunity to review, submitting a research paper or book review is a good way to become a 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.

Other posts in this Peer Review Week series:

Your research community needs YOU … to become a peer reviewer

Why should you become a reviewer?

Tips for new peer reviewers