Become a great reviewer with these resources

Peer review on the Publishing Campus

Tips & tricks

As a reviewer, there are a whole host of skills you need to hone, from critical evaluation through diplomacy to promotion. Elsevier’s Publishing Campus has a collection of resources to help you take the step towards becoming a great reviewer by developing your reviewing skills and knowledge.

With videos, downloadable resources, online lectures and interactive courses, the Publishing Campus has everything you need to review for top journals. Here we take you on a journey through the Campus’ resources for reviewers.

Get acquainted with the peer review process

Start by watching a video about the value of the peer review process, hearing from early career researchers and journal editors about how peer review can help support high quality content. The new webinar The nuts & bolts of Peer Review: a discussion by Biomaterials Editors is a good place to start for anyone interested in the peer review process.

For those who haven’t yet taken the leap into reviewing, the online lecture Why get involved in peer review? is a great introduction. It covers some of the reasons to get involved, such as establishing your expertise and expanding your knowledge, and highlights several Elsevier initiatives to improve peer review, including the Reviewer Recognition platform, the Publishing Peer Review Reports pilot and the Cross Review pilot.

Delving deeper into the role of the reviewer, the interactive course How to review a manuscript: the reviewing process and the connected online lecture outline the key requirements for reviewers when handling a manuscript. The online lecture features content from Sense about Science, a not-for-profit organization that equips researchers to make sense of scientific and medical claims in public (it’s even available in Brazilian Portuguese!).

Ready to start? The online lecture How to become a Reviewer? provides practical guidance on how to get involved, what editors expect and how to get really good at reviewing.

Skilling up

You’ve taken the step and received an invitation to review. Now what? A step-by-step guide to reviewing a manuscript will help you decide how to review a manuscript for a high-impact international journal. The interactive course and online lecture take you through the important steps to follow, focusing on your role as a reviewer in the process.

Looking at the process from the author’s perspective can help you develop your skills in writing reviews. With the online lecture How to respond to reviewers' comments you can get insights into how authors receive and respond to reviewers’ comments. This will help you provide the most constructive and useful feedback possible.

The editor’s perspective can also help. In the downloadable resource Top reviewing tips by editors, seasoned Elsevier editors highlight the ingredients required for a “great review.”

In order to carry out the highest quality review possible, you need to take ethics into consideration. The online lecture Ethics responsibilities for Reviewers covers what you should do if you come across scientific misconduct and breach of publishing ethics. It’s not your sole responsibility as a reviewer to uncover plagiarism, fraud and other ethics issues, but you are in a good position to highlight scientific misconduct if you do come across it. The lecture will give you the information you need on ethics for reviewers.

Reviewing tips can also be specific to subjects and regions – the Publishing Campus has two such online lectures. The fundamentals of peer review for the chemical sciences provides an outline of the steps to follow when reviewing a manuscript in the field. Peer review in Asia provides special tips for reviewers in Asia on dealing with common challenges, from what the reviewer’s primary focus should be to how to deliver the reviewer report.

Celebrating success

Recognition matters in peer review: reviewers give significant time to the process and Elsevier believes they should be rewarded. To mark Peer Review week 2016, the Elsevier Publishing Campus and Sense about Science hosted a live online lecture on peer review. Recognizing Peer Reviewers: a Webinar to Celebrate Editors and Researchers explored why recognizing reviewers matters, ways for seasoned reviewers and editors to share their knowledge with new reviewers and how editors can build a pool of excellent reviewers for their journals.

Putting in the effort as a reviewer can also help you take the next step and become an editor. The online lecture How Reviewers become Editors introduces this path, outlining what editors consider valuable in a reviewer and how you can use that to advance your career.

The Elsevier Publishing Campus is frequently updated with new resources, lectures and courses, so stay tuned to the Peer Review section for the latest content.


Written by

James Picken

Written by

James Picken

James Picken has held various positions across Elsevier, most recently as Head of Content Strategy and Development for the Research Marketing team. In previous roles, he launched, managed Elsevier’s Asia Pacific-published journals portfolio, and served as Strategic Marketing Manager for The Lancet journals.


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