Reviewing for the first time us daunting.. bit is a great learning opportunity and is part of the research life. Learning how to do so as constructively as possible is worthwhile. Here are some resources.

This one gives some attitudes to have, structure to consider and what is important to focus on. Worth reading. (I have included a short synopsis at the end .. to help remember the points. But do read the original 🙂

Twelve Tips for Reviewers

Many critical skills needed for becoming a successful academic are typically not taught in graduate school, at least not in any formal way. One of these is how to review journal articles. Few students coming out of graduate school have much experience reviewing papers, and yet, at least for those students continuing on in research, reviewing is a skill that will be increasingly critical as their careers develop.

Some general points:

Ten Simple Rules for Reviewers

Citation: Bourne PE, Korngreen A (2006) Ten Simple Rules for Reviewers. PLoS Comput Biol 2(9): e110. Published: September 29, 2006 Copyright: © 2006 Philip E. Bourne. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Not tried this one, but am a member.. as as their objective is to promote good reviewing, I assume there is some good stuff here.

Learn to Peer Review: Publons Academy

Aaannnnddd it’s here. The Publons Academy has officially launched and is open for enrolments . The Publons Academy is a free, online peer review training course for early career researchers. Developed together with world renowned researchers, peer reviewers, journal editors and Nobel Laureates, it will help you practice and master the core competencies of peer review, and connect you with editors at elite journals.

For other advice.. and where I got my links.. see this thread on Facebook

Justyna Świdrak

hello, I got my first review request! I’m curious what would you advise to a noob like me (my field is experimental psychology). Any good articles on do’s and don’ts?

Great short article

To showcase that you are a reviewer.. and who invites you to do so.. consider creating an account with

  1. Know your mission. A reviewer’s job is to evaluate a submitted article, not (necessarily) to criticize it and certainly not to trash it. The editor is seeking your advice on whether or not to publish the paper…. Keep the big picture in mind:
    1. Is the problem addressed an important one in the context of the field?
    2. Does the current paper push knowledge forward in a substantive way?
  2. Be speedy. Your reviews should be timely. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin the review
  3. Read carefully. Yes, you need to be speedy, but not at the expense of accuracy. Read the paper carefully, and go back over parts that are not clear.
  4. Say positive things in your review. In short, even if you are recommending that the paper not be published for one reason or another, try to include some kind words.
  5. Don’t exhibit hostility or mean-spiritedness in your review.
  6. Keep it brief. The editor is a busy person. I now try to keep my reviews to one or two pages, which probably makes both the editor and the author happy.
  7. Don’t nitpick. Don’t go through the paper searching for misspellings and grammatical infelicities. Keep to the main point, the big picture.
  8. Develop a good reviewing style. There is no universally agreed-upon reviewing style, so you must develop one that is comfortable for you. Some people begin with a summary of the paper. Personally, I think this is ok if the paper is confusing and if the editor might need a little help, but there is no need to provide a long summary for a paper that has a straightforward message. One typical style for reviews is to have an introductory paragraph stating the paper’s main point and the reviewer’s initial reaction. The reviewer might then make the case for publishing the paper, listing its strengths and discussing its importance. Next might come a section on the manuscript’s shortcomings and criticisms, as well as advice on how they might be overcome (if they can be). Finally, the review may conclude with a recommendation about the paper’s publishability, with the realization that this is advice for the editor (as discussed in Point 11). This schema is only a suggestion. Many other reviewing styles exist.
  9. Be careful in recommending further experimentation. One of the easiest bad habits for reviewers to develop is to routinely recommend that further research be conducted before the paper is published. Yes, sometimes a further study is absolutely required to clinch a point and make a paper publishable, but these cases are not as routine as some reviewers and editors make them out to be.
  10. Watch for egocentrism. If you received a paper to review, chances are you yourself have published on that topic. Nearly every member of any scientific field is subject to the feeling of citation neglect. Occasionally you might want to point out one of your papers that is overlooked by the current authors, but don’t make a habit of it.
  11. Make a recommendation about the paper, unless the instructions from the editor tell you not to. Most journal editors want to know what your bottom line is. Rather than just discussing features of the paper and letting the editor guess what your overall opinion is, state it at the end of the review. You may have listed positive and negative factors, but how do you weight them?
  12. Sign your review. Or, if you can’t bring yourself to do that, at least write your review as if the author will learn your identity and you wouldn’t be embarrassed.

Another source:

A Field Guide for the Review Process: Writing and Responding to Peer Reviews

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