When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

10 Tips for Getting Started as a Peer Reviewer

Two people on a couch with computers

Are you thinking about being a peer reviewer but aren’t sure where to start? Are you concerned that you don’t have enough experience to review a manuscript for a journal?

Here are ten easy things you can do to prepare to be a reviewer and put yourself in a position to start reviewing. Some of these are so simple you can do them in the next five minutes. Get started now!

Icon author pink

1. Update your public profile

Keep your department or personal website current and make sure it includes relevant keywords about your research areas.

2. Be findable

Make sure your email address is easy to find and up to date.

3. Read, read, read

Stay up to date with the published literature in your field (via journal eTOC alerts or RSS feeds, among others). When you read an article, think about how you would evaluate it if you were reviewing it for a journal. Also read articles that are published with the reviewer comments online.

An icon showing a scroll of paper with writing

4. Keep up the good work

Editors often select reviewers by looking at the references in published articles. By continuing to conduct your research and report the results, you’ll help editors find you, and match you to the kinds of studies you want to read.

OrcidID logo

5. Get a unique personal identifier

Sign up for an ORCID iD and authorize ORCID to link up your publications.

An icon showing a hand with a plant growing

6. Find a mentor

Let your supervisor know that you are interested in doing peer review. Ask if you might be able to coauthor a review with your supervisor. Use the confidential comments section of the review form to share your name with the journal. Some journals also might have mentoring programs for junior reviewers.

An icon showing a group of people

7. Go to conferences

Give presentations or participate on panels at conferences to start getting known among others in your field. Network with journal editors attending the conferences.

Twitter logo

8. Get active on social media

Follow and connect with experts in your field via Twitter, LinkedIn, or other platforms.

An icon showing a building with columns

9. Join (or start!) a journal club

Find or form a group at your university or institution to get practice evaluating research with your peers.

An icon showing a pencil writing on paper

10. Practice writing about research

Get involved in open peer review (e.g., F1000 Research), join preprint discussions on bioRxiv or PREreview, or add post-publication article comments on journal websites.

Do you have ideas or advice not listed here? Let us know!

This resource is part of a series:

Recent Resources
  • Open Peer Review

    What is Open Peer Review, and how is it different from other review models? Why is Open Peer Review Important?…

    Read more
  • Peer Reviewing Data

    A Reviewer’s Quick Guide to Assessing Open Datasets There is a growing appreciation of the importance of data storage, maintenance…

    Read more
  • Ethics for Peer Reviewers

    As a reviewer, you have a crucial role in supporting research integrity in the peer review and publishing process. This…

    Read more
Back to top