In this post, we explain what you can gain from providing peer reviews and tips on how to write constructive reports.
Excellent peer reviews are so essential to science and scientific publishing, but it’s not always easy to find guidance and material to assist you to write high-quality reviews. This post offers some excellent advice to help you find your practice when it comes to the writing of a review. This is a recommended read for researchers of all career stages, but especially for HDR candidates and early career researchers. We have included a long list of related items.
Why is it important to be a peer reviewer?
First and foremost, peer review is the backbone to ensuring scientific integrity in published manuscripts. As we describe in our post about how the peer review process works, the managing editor does an initial determination of a manuscript’s fit for the journal and worthiness for peer review, but thereafter relies on the reports from peer reviewers. The reviewers are critical to assessing whether the research has solid methodology, provides sound conclusions, is important to the field, is relevant to the journal’s audience, and meets ethical standards. The peer reviews can also enhance the quality of the work.
Second, journals cannot function without peer reviewers. At some point, all authors have experienced frustrating delays in the peer review process. In some instances, the fault is with editors; for example, we have experienced occasional issues with our own articles being “lost” in a journal’s system or editors taking months to make determinations after receiving the peer review reports. But in most instances, delays are due to editors’ chronic challenges with soliciting peer reviews that are timely and of sufficient quality to make a determination. Delays in providing manuscript determinations can in turn damage a journal’s reputation. There are some journals that we will not submit to anymore following our own and our colleagues’ bad experiences. (JPHMP is not on that list!) If you want to participate in academic publishing and have your own work reviewed, you have a professional obligation to serve as a peer reviewer.