How to become a peer reviewer of scientific research?

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The scientists who actively work in their fields of science are often invited to evaluate research papers of the other researchers. The main task of a peer reviewer is to evaluate the pros and cons of a research paper in the qualified and objective way in order to help the other scientists correctly disclose the results of their research.


The main conditions for becoming a peer reviewer:

- knowledge of the field of science an author investigates;

- adherence to the ethics of the peer review of a research paper;

- fulfillment of all obligations the journal puts forward, namely,

a peer review should give a qualified evaluation of the actuality and novelty of the results of the research, reveal the importance of the topic, adhere to one and the same style and be written in a literate language as well as show a good command of the list of references in this field.


Here are some duties a peer reviewer should adhere to when considering the research:

- he should check the research in the subject field of which he works himself;

- to observe the rules of anonymity and confidentiality;

- not to evaluate the research in a biased way;

- to avoid condemnation, humiliating comments, unreasonable criticism or accusations;

- to respect a scientist and his material, recognising an author's ability to express his own opinion and assumptions;

- not to condemn the other research papers an author refers to.


A peer reviewer can make one of the following three decisions:

- to recommend to give the research for publication;

- to recommend an article for publication conditionally (recommendations on revising and elimination of mistakes);

-  to refuse the publication.


There are several reasons why a peer reviewer can refuse to give an expert evaluation:

  1. If he works with an author in the same organisation.
  2. He was a co-author in the research paper;
  3. There are common publications;
  4. Confidentiality issues were violated;
  5. Pressure from the side of the editorial board;
  6. The terms and requirements for a peer review do not suit, etc.


But what should be done if a researcher who wants to become a reviewer is just at the beginning of his career? Many aspiring scientists strive to take this position as it can help in their career growth and recognition among colleagues. Therefore, they expand their knowledge in the field they investigate and acquaint themselves with the primary sources of innovative discoveries and experiments. A peer reviewer actively communicates with the editorial board and the other scientists, expanding his circle of communication in this field.


There are several ways a young scientist can become a peer reviewer. Let us consider the most important ones.

1) The attention of the editorial board to an applicant will be drawn by a list of his strong publications with a high citation index. To increase the citation index, one should competently choose keywords and titles for articles because this information can both facilitate and complicate the search for the necessary material. Research papers should be published in the journals with a high rating and then a scientist will be considered to be an expert in the field of research.  


2) The second way that can help become a peer reviewer is to address to the scientific advisor. It is probable that he has a big list of contacts, and he is in close connection with the editors of periodicals that will contribute to the consideration of your candidacy for the role of a peer reviewer. A scientific advisor gives valuable advice and recommendations that will help properly evaluate and competently write a review. However, there is no official educational course in this field yet.


3) If waiting is not what you actually need, then you can make the first active actions on your own and write to the editorial board of Scopus and Web of Science journals, having formulated your desire to become a peer reviewer. Editors are interested in specialists who can be independent reviewers or the members of the editorial board. Before addressing, it is better to found out about all the requirements for peer reviewers in the journals with which you plan to cooperate.


4) Another way to provide a scientific review is to write an evaluation after publication. Every scientist who is registered in the database can leave a comment upon one or another article. This is a good opportunity to start learning to analyse research papers and improve one's own skills in this.


Why should young scientists be invited to the peer review? One of the reason is that they are more willing to accept the invitation to comment on a research papers, have more responsible attitude to the set task and give an honest evaluation  because they want to show themselves from the best side.

It is very important to make a balanced decision when you receive an offer to become a peer reviewer because a lot depends on your expert evaluation. Every peer reviewer has an important and responsible mission to develop the scientific world and fill it with quality material.


Scientific Publications–Publ.Science Company aims to ensure that a peer review process of research papers should take place at the highest level and ensure filling the abstract databases with high-quality research papers of scientists from around the world. We actively cooperate with the editorial boards of partner journals and assist in finding peer reviewers for scientific evaluation. If you want to become a peer reviewer of some periodical or a member of the editorial board, contact us.

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