How to Become a Peer Reviewer

Scholars see reviewing as an essential part of their job. They know that the effort they put in is reciprocated by others when they submit their own work to journals. Many also want to have advanced access to the latest work in their field, or as an activity that can be used to strengthen their resume. Here, we give a few tips about how to become a peer reviewer, how to be a good reviewer, and what the benefits are.

Can I sign up as a reviewer?

MDPI journals are actively looking for volunteers to review manuscripts.

If you are interested in reviewing for an MDPI journal, you can create an account in the submission system and then sign up. You can then choose the journals you think are most appropriate to your expertise. Our editors will check your qualifications and let you know if you are accepted. They will contact you after receiving a paper that fits your expertise.

Make sure you provide enough evidence that you are proficient in your field, such as a website, CV or list of publications.

Even without being invited, there are many way to practice your reviewing skills. Sites like Publons and Pubpeer allow you to submit a publicly available review for any paper.

What do I need to know about writing a peer-review report?

MDPI has a page dedicated to advice for reviewers, which also includes links to further resources online. The format, expectations, and time taken to write a review can depend on the research field. You can also ask more experienced colleagues for advice.

Here are some tips on how to write a high-quality peer review report for MDPI:

  • MDPI peer review reports should follow the same structure, which depends on what type of manuscript you are reviewing (article, review, etc.).
  • When evaluating the quality of a manuscript, you should discuss several aspects. These include novelty, scope, significance, quality, scientific soundness, interest to readers, overall merit, and English level.
  • We take publication ethics seriously, so reviewers should report any scientific misconduct, fraud, plagiarism, and any other behaviour that may be unethical.
  • A final recommendation should be provided regarding how, or if, the article should proceed to the next processing stage.

If you want delve into more tips and tricks on how to become a peer reviewer, see our article 4 Steps to the Perfect Peer Review Report.

What benefits can I get from reviewing?

We want to recognise the efforts of reviewers as much as we can. The problem is that it is often a confidential process. Our journals have several ways of saying thank you:

  • Many of our journals are enrolled with Publons, which provides credit for reviewers. You can even upload reviews from journals that don’t directly cooperate with Publons to receive more credit.
  • You can download a letter confirming your contributions from your reviewer profile in our submission system, Susy.
  • Reviewers receive a discount on the article processing charge of their next submitted article.
  • Once a year, a list of reviewers is published in the journal.
  • Many journal offer prizes for outstanding reviewers.

These benefits are in addition to knowing that you have contributed to maintaining the quality of published papers in your field and having access to research before publication.

Understanding how to become a peer reviewer

We want to make becoming a peer reviewer as easy and as beneficial as possible. If you want to learn more about our general guidelines for reviewers, we have plenty of information that may help you.

If you have any more questions about peer review for any MDPI journal, you can write to the editorial office.

The original version of this article was written by Martyn Rittman in 2016. It has been updated for content and tone.

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