How to become a peer-reviewer for a scholarly journal?
by Amy Forrester - Managing Editor, Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy
Peer review is commonly accepted as an essential part of scientific publication and involvement in the peer review process is often necessary for career advancement. It would benefit graduate students to obtain some experience with the peer review process to further their professional development or assist a potential employer in selecting among many otherwise similarly qualified candidates.
Below are a few accepted means to becoming involved with scholarly peer-review.
- Once published in a peer-reviewed journal, there is a possibility of being asked to review for that journal.
- An advisor or other faculty member may ask a graduate student to assist with a review.
- It is possible to contact a journal editor directly to ask to be considered for the referee pool. The probability of being invited to review increases when a graduate student has published work of their own.
- Several journals maintain student editorial boards [i.e. Journal of Graduate Student Scholarship in Counseling (Texas A&M University); Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (Elsevier Publishing)].
- There are other journals entirely run by students [i.e. Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology, a peer-reviewed publication edited and managed by graduate students in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles].
Graduate students must balance their involvement in the peer review process with the need to publish their own work. This challenge explains why more advanced graduate students are typically more involved in the peer review process.