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All your questions about peer reviewing for Essex Student Journal Answered

Posted by Katrine Sundsbø on 2020-10-13

After re-launching the Essex Student Journal we've had a lot of interest in how to get involved, and we've also had a lot of questions! We've decided to collect the most asked questions here:

What does a peer reviewer role involve? 

Being a peer reviewer is a common part of academia, as you'll become experts in your own fields. When you are registered as a peer reviewer, you'll be sent manuscripts to review if they match your area of expertise. You can choose to accept or decline any review we ask you to do. Following our guidance (specified in the system when you peer review) you'll review the manuscript and give your recommendation on whether it is suitable for publication or not, and whether it needs further work by the author before being published. You can suggest minor revisions, such as adding references or rewriting small parts of the paper. Or you can suggest major revisions, which could include rewriting large parts of the manuscript. Once you've read the paper and given your comments, you upload it back to the system and alert the Journal Editor that you've finished your review. You can choose to add a comment to the editor at this point, which will not be shown to the author. 

How many hours a week/a term? 

This is a 'it depends' question. There might be a submission matching your expertise as soon as you sign up to become a reviewer, and therefore your work is required straight away! There might not be any papers matching your expertise at all for a while after you sign up. We will never ask you to review several papers at once. 

How much time you spend on peer reviewing each paper depends on how thorough you are. Please note that all papers will be screened by the editor before being sent to you, so there will not be any papers which are clear 'desk rejections' coming your way, and any major issues will already have been sorted out.

Is it paid? 

Peer reviewing is not paid, and all our peer reviewers are volunteers. This is common practice in academia. 

Do I need experience? 

No, you do not need any experience to become a peer reviewer for us. 

Do I get training? 

Yes, we will be setting up training during the term for new peer reviewers. You can also get in touch with the journal editor if you have any questions or need any help with peer reviewing at any point. 

What are the benefits of being a reviewer for the Essex Student Journal?

Peer reviewing is a significant part of being an academic, and is a task that many don't get any training on before being thrown into it. It can be daunting to recieve your first peer review request from a journal, so we want to use the Essex Student Journal as a place where postgraduates can practice peer reviewing skills and become more familiar with the process. By reviewing others' papers you can also reflect back on your own writing, and pick up a few tips and tricks. 

Who can become a peer reviewer?

We're looking for postgraduate students to become reviewers, mainly University of Essex students, but we welcome students from other institutions to join us as reviewers as well! 

How should I 'act' as a peer reviewer?

Remember that there is a person on the other side of the paper you're reviewing. Give feedback that is helpful, but also remember to tell them what is good about their paper as well as what needs improving. The peer reivew process is there to improve manuscripts as well as verify and check that information is correct and up to date. 

How do I become a peer reviewer?

Simply click on 'Become a Reviewer' and register using your details. Please do let us know what your department or area of expertise is, so that we can match you to papers in the system more easily.

Who can I contact for more information?

You can get in touch with us using the 'Contact us' page. For enquires about the journal, submission and peer reviewing, please choose the Journal Editor as your main contact. 


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