7 steps to strengthening your reviewer profile

Katrina NewittBy Katrina Newitt, Senior Peer Review Manager, SAGE Publishing, @KatrinaNewitt  

You want to start reviewing. Where, and how, do you begin?

It is widely acknowledged that there is a lack of formal training for peer reviewers and most learn “on the job”. For an experienced researcher, an invitation to review for a journal is a weekly, if not daily, occurrence. But if you’re new to peer review, how do you build up your experience as a reviewer if you’re not invited to be one in the first place?

To celebrate Peer Review Week we have gathered some tips for new reviewers to enable you to strengthen your reviewer profile on our online submission and peer review systems and to increase your chance of being selected as a reviewer.

  • Identify which journal you’d like to review for

Browse our journals by subject and click through to find more information about each one, including the aims & scope, editorial board and information about the peer review process. If the journal has specific guidelines for reviewers this is where you’ll find them.

  • Register for an account on the journal’s online submission and peer review system

Building your reviewer profile imageMany journals in the SAGE portfolio use SAGE Track, which was developed in conjunction with ScholarOne, based on the industry leading ScholarOne Manuscripts system. Once you’ve found a journal you’d like to review for, create an account and follow the rest of the steps below.

  • Provide an institutional and verifiable email address

Personal email addresses such as Gmail can be difficult to verify and will not always allow an Editor to find more information about you and your suitability to review a paper. Providing an up-to-date institutional email address will increase your chances of being selected as a reviewer. We recognise that this may not be the inbox you use most regularly and so you can also provide a secondary email address if you would prefer our communications to be routed elsewhere.

  • Keep your affiliation up-to-date

If you have recently changed institution please ensure that you update your account to reflect this. This helps our Editors identify the most suitable reviewers and avoids any conflict of interest with the authors of the paper under review.

  • Provide keywords

Some journals will provide a list of keywords to choose from, but others are free entry. It is best if you provide a mixture of general and specific keywords which reflect your research interests and the areas for which you’d like to review papers.

  • Register your availability

On our SAGE Track system you can register periods of unavailability which will advise Editors if you are unable to act as a reviewer for a time, reducing email backlogs once you’re back at work!

  • Create an ORCID and associate it with your account

As a supporting member of ORCID, we at SAGE encourage all of our authors and reviewers to create an ORCID ID and associate it with your accounts on our online submission and peer review systems. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other contributor and providing your ID when reviewing papers allows our Journal Editors to easily access key information including your up-to-date publication record. This helps to quickly establish whether your research focus aligns with that of the paper under review. You can read more about our partnership with ORCID here.

If you have completed all of the above and find yourself invited to review a paper, perhaps for the first or second time, our Reviewer Gateway also provides some helpful tips on the do’s and don’ts of completing a peer review.

Once you have reviewed for a SAGE journal, we encourage you to opt-in to receive recognition with Publons, a free service that enables you to effortlessly record, verify, and showcase your peer review contributions.

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful, but don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

This post is part of SAGE’s Peer Review focused content for Peer Review Week 2018. Keep up to date during the week by following the hashtag #PeerReviewWeek18

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