Reviewers play a central role in scholarly publishing. Elsevier relies on the peer review process to uphold the quality and validity of individual articles and the journals that publish them. We are always working to improve and streamline the peer review process.
We know how difficult it can be to find and keep reviewers and encourage them to meet deadlines. The Reviewer Hub can help you to work with reviewers, giving them the guidance, information and support they need to carry out the best review possible. With detailed reviewer guidelines and information on ethics and policies, this is home to all the information reviewers need.
Working with Reviewers
Reviewers are often in short supply. To make sure you work well with your reviewers and get the best reviews possible, there are some simple things you can do.
Send relevant manuscripts for review
- Reviewers are under considerable time pressure, so it is best not to take up their time with manuscripts to review that are of such poor quality they could be rejected outright.
Keep reviewers informed
- Reviewers would like to know the final editorial decision of the paper, and see other reviewers’ comments
- You can enable this functionality in EES – to switch it on for your journal, speak to your journal manager
Give reviewers recognition
- Reviewers are grateful for efforts, however small, to show appreciation of their work
- You can recognise reviewers with certificates and annual listings in the journal
Top tips for working with reviewers
- Try to select reviewers who are doing research in a related area – they are more likely to find the paper relevant and interesting, and therefore respond promptly. They will also be able to spot missing references and other shortcomings.
- Make use of editorial board members for reviewing and consider rotating off-board members who do not review regularly.
- Think twice before using reviewers who have not been active in research in the last five years.
- Check the journal’s recent authors – the best reviewers are often early career researchers who have recently published in the journal.
- Approach mid-career researchers (who are often the slowest reviewers) for referrals to suitable reviewers.
- Only invite the reviewers you need – inviting more reviewers than are needed can cause reviewers to feel unappreciated, and conflicting reviews can come in after you have made your decision. You can track invitations in EES.
Provide clear guidance
- Reviewers benefit from having information and guidance from the start of the review process, including timely and useful reminders
- Establish a peer review policy outlining what is expected of reviewers
- Develop a set of clear reviewer guidelines
- Include deadlines in the reviewer invitation letter
- Set up automatic reminders for reviewers and customise reviewer letters to include relevant information
Finding new reviewers and keeping good ones can be challenging; here are some of the ways Elsevier can help.
Identify potential reviewers by searching Scopus via the Scopus search bar in your EES assignments page. You can see their published work, citation histories and who their co-authors were and set up citation alerts for their research.
Create a reviewer classifications list for your journal, so you can match manuscripts to the right reviewer according to their area of expertise.
Build a database of relevant reviewers in EES by assigning classifications and adding notes. This lets you search for reviewers matching the manuscript's keywords and set up automated actions, such as uninviting and alternate reviewer invitations.