Selecting reviewers for your submitted manuscript

Many peer-review journals now request reviewer recommendations during the submission process. Selecting suitable reviewer(s) is critical to facilitating and surviving the peer-review process. The recommended reviewer must be someone who is an expert within your speciality, is still active, and has recently published within your particular area of research.

Selection Strategies.

There are a number of strategies you can use in selecting suitable reviewers. The list of references used in your manuscript is an obvious place to start, or if you have a target journal in mind for your manuscript, you can conduct a keyword search for authors that have previously published with that journal and are still active in the field.

There are a number of online tools that can be used to help you find a suitable reviewer. The most widely known are Google Scholar and PubMed, which allow you to perform a literature search using keywords to identify authors that are also actively publishing within your area and have knowledge specific to the topic of your manuscript. You can then narrow this search by date of publication, geographic location, and even further by institute if necessary.

A more specialized online tool, JANE (Journal/Author Name Estimator), can also be utilized for your reviewer selection. JANE is a freely available online application that allows you to enter a title, abstract, or keywords to find a suitable journal for publication, potential co-authors, and previously published articles. JANE can therefore also be utilized to help you select experts in your particular subject area. JANE is updated monthly and uses records from the MEDLINE database that are published within the last 10 years, and have an abstract. Certain categories of articles are automatically excluded, e.g. comment, editorial, news, biography etc., and it also only selects from Journals that have at least one publication within the last year, and at least 25 publications in the last 10 years. JANE chooses the 50 most similar papers to your search input, and then assigns similarity scores that can then be combined into confidence scores for a potential author/reviewer. These scores will allow you to evaluate their level of expertise in your topic area.

Peer2ref is another text input publicly available online tool that was developed to aid in reviewer selection for scientific manuscripts. The selection of peer-reviewers is based not on the keyword similarity to that of single manuscripts, but instead to a collection of manuscripts by the same author. Using abstracts from PubMed indexed articles published within the last decade, Peer2ref develops a “disambiguated author profile” based on co-authors that is able to distinguish between authors of the same name, and builds a unique keyword profile based on previous publications. The keyword profile of a new manuscript can then be compared, and a list of potential reviewers sorted by a score value, and including keywords from their publication profiles is displayed.

One major advantage of using online applications to facilitate the peer-review process is in the elimination of potential bias that may occur with the manual selection of reviewers.

Benefits of providing suggested reviewers.

The suggestion of potential names does not guarantee that the editor will use that reviewer; however, suggestion of experts within your field can expedite the review process and has the added benefit of indicating to the editor your belief in the quality of the work you are submitting. It will also serve as an indication that you are up to date on current developments within your field. Studies in this area have shown that author recommended peer reviewers tend to recommend acceptance more often than journal recommended reviewers.

The experts at Research Medics are current or past editors/peer-reviewers for international journals, with extensive experience on both sides of the peer-review process, and can help you select potential reviewers to recommend to your target journal. Our experts will screen for research expertise in your subject area, and select potential reviewers based upon their recent publication record, academic experience, reputation, geographic location, and target journal’s requirements.

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