We aim to make decisions on all submitted manuscripts, including commissioned content, based on the advice of at least two independent reviewers.
To give an informed and unbiased opinion on a manuscript, reviewers should be well qualified, with a significant and steady publication record, and an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and methodology.
Some manuscripts may require additional independent reviewers, particularly if multi-disciplinary or if they require the specialized skills of a statistician.
Criteria for a suitable reviewer
- Active in the relevant field and/or methodology as judged by their publication record
- Ideally having published more than 10 articles in the past 10 years
- Not too senior, as they are likely to be very busy
- Free of any potential bias, i.e.
- No co-publications with an author of the submitted manuscript in the last 5 years
- Not currently or recently affiliated at the same institution as an author
- Not excluded by the authors (we allow authors to exclude up to 3 reviewers)
- Not known to have particularly strong views or opinions on the topic, unless this can be balanced by additional reviewers
- Reviewers should be ‘independent’ of one another, i.e.
- Not currently working at the same lab/institution
In some instances, you can be flexible:
- Where a reviewer has co-published with an author once or twice as a small proportion of a prolific publishing history
- Where a reviewer has co-published with an author once or twice in articles with an extensive author list, e.g. a multi-centre trial
- Where a reviewer is junior, but exactly on topic, especially if their supervisor agrees to look at the report before it is submitted and includes their name
- Where it would make valid peer-review impossible if requests for exclusion were honored
Finding Potential Reviewers
To supplement your own knowledge of researchers in the field, we recommend investigating some additional avenues:
- Assess the manuscript reference list to find reviewers with specialist knowledge of the topic and/or methodology
- Approach invited speakers of meetings/conferences
- Check suggestions made by candidates who have declined to review within eJManager
- Consider authors from articles already published within your journal on similar topics
We strongly advise against using unsolicited reviewer suggestions from authors. If appropriate, you may invite the author to suggest reviewers if you cannot find suitable reviewers through any of the routes described here. Please ask the author to provide an institutional email address for the potential reviewer, check the potential reviewer’s expertise and credentials yourself, and ensure that there are no competing interests between the potential reviewer and the authors. In a small number of cases, the email address provided may not be genuine or the reviewer may be poorly qualified. If author-suggested reviewers are invited, it is advised to always use at least one reviewer who was not suggested by the authors.
If you're still struggling to find reviewers after utilising the above suggestions, we recommend making use of readily available online tools. Finding new reviewers has distinct advantages over exhausting your personal contacts, as reviewers can be found with exactly the right expertise, you may increase the audience of your journal and new reviewers may then consider your journal for future submissions.
To search using keywords, we recommend trying: