Peer review is an important part of the publishing process. Journals would not be able to publish the research that they do without the dedication of peer reviewers. Serving as the checkpoint to academic credibility, reviewers provide crucial feedback for authors and editors that influences the future of a paper’s publication status. With the world facing an unprecedented time of crisis, the work of reviewers is more essential than ever.
We asked researchers about their experience as peer reviewers. We hope their stories provide a sounding board for others, and offer insight into a process that almost all researchers will take part in during their career.
Dileep Goyal is a Vice President of Research & Development + Engineering in the United States who reviews research in digital health, wearables, sensors, advanced materials and nanotechnology, and advanced manufacturing. Having reviewed for five years, he reviews around 10 papers per year. His thoughtful responses highlight seven useful pieces of advice to consider when assessing your own review experience.
- The review process doesn’t have to feel like a chore. I love to review new journals and research articles. it keeps me posted with the latest technologies and advancement in research. It keeps me up-to-date on cutting edge research in the field, while also allowing me to critically appraise the research methodologies and outcome.
- Remember that being chosen to review means you were personally selected. Reviewing is a privilege and I always feel proud when I receive a request to review an article, especially in the materials science and consumer technology intersections.
- It’s not always easy to get review requests. I’ve found it very challenging to get invited for peer reviews until you are recommended by someone (editor or other peer reviewers).
- Invitations to review may be sent too frequently to the people who are too busy. From my discussion with other peer reviewers and editors, I have noticed that there is an imbalance of distribution of peer review requests of journal articles. Reviewers who get a lot of requests do not have enough time to spend on them, which can lead to a drop in quality, and the reviewers who are interested and available do not seem to get enough invitations.
- Reviewing can become a part of your “me” time. When it comes to managing my time, it is key to balance personal life and growth with career responsibilities. I set aside personal time as learning/growth time during the week, and use this time to review articles.
- Not everyone has the same access privileges to research. I sometimes find it challenging to cross-reference the review article if I do not have access to papers listed as referenced articles. Most of the time, we have to review the journal and read the abstract of referenced articles, and assume that the reference quoted is accurate.
- Programs and tools can help make reviewing easier. Google and grammar tools are helpful when facilitating the review process. Books and journal references are also useful to get additional context.