Navigating peer review

1.7 h
Fundamentals of peer review

Building trust and engagement in peer review

Certified Peer Reviewer Course

The Elsevier Researcher Academy is pleased to announce a new certified course in peer reviewing. By taking the Certified* Peer Reviewer course, you will receive a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of refereeing. Co-created, developed and in part delivered by senior academic editors on leading journals, the course has been specifically designed to give those who have not yet reviewed – or who feel they would like additional training in this area – the skills and confidence to accept a request to review.

Delivered via directed self-learning in the form of webinars, podcasts and questionnaires, the course can be tackled in your own time. Several core modules must be completed to gain certification, but you can “pick and choose” additional elements to suit your individual learning needs and interests. You can also check out the speakers & advisory board here and you can familiarize yourself with the syllabus here. Becoming a certified peer reviewer will allow you to publicly demonstrate your expertise as a referee and will be a clear signal to journal editors that you would be a valuable addition to their reviewer pool. In addition, it is possible that your institution might recognize your certification as evidence of continuing professional education. 

*Please note that completion of the Certified Peer Reviewer course does not guarantee invitation or selection as a reviewer. Furthermore, practices, requirements, instructions and methodologies can vary considerably according to the context in which you are working, the type of journal and the specific editor and title so the examples and suggestions in the course should be taken as illustrative but non-exhaustive. Please refer to your journal’s guide for authors and any specific instructions or advice from the editor or journal for the most relevant instructions for your review.

What you will find
  • Understanding of the peer review process
  • Advice on writing a helpful peer review report
  • Advice on handling ethical issues concerning peer review 

Fundamentals of peer review

Peer review is the cornerstone of the scientific publishing process, yet editors face a daily struggle to find researchers willing to review for their journal. In this series of modules, we explain why it is so important to get involved in peer review and the many benefits it can bring. You will hear how carrying out peer review can sharpen your own writing skills and introduce you to some of the movers and shakers in your field. You will learn how you can volunteer, and discover the ethics guidelines you should comply with. Moreover, we explain why there is a move towards making peer review more transparent.

What you will find
  • The many benefits reviewing brings
  • Your responsibilities as a reviewer
  • Why there is a move towards transparency

Becoming a peer reviewer

Peer review is a skill, and in this series of modules, we share some tips to help you deliver review reports guaranteed to make any editor smile. We start by explaining the actions you should definitely avoid, from saying yes when you don’t have time to complete a review, to providing biased or unfair statements. We highlight points to consider when looking at each element of the article and explain how to be constructive in your feedback. You will also learn how your reviewing activities can provide an important stepping stone towards becoming a journal editor. 

What you will find
  • Common reviewing mistakes
  • Tips for writing an effective review
  • Insights into how reviewing can boost your career

Going through peer review

When you’ve already invested so much time in your manuscript, it’s not always easy to hear that a reviewer thinks it needs more work. In these modules, we provide some useful advice on how to deal with those reviewer comments and keep your submission moving smoothly through the publishing process. You will learn the initial steps you should take, and the correct tone and language to use in your response letter. We also help you see your manuscript through the eyes of an editor and reviewer, so you can spot any shortfalls or mistakes before you submit.

What you will find
  • Practical advice on how to respond to reviewers
  • An explanation of what reviewers are looking for
  • Tips on looking at your submission with a critical eye