Who’s who in peer review?

Peer review is a mainstay of science publishing. When a research manuscript is submitted to a journal for publication, editors ask a few of the authors’ peers, people working on similar research topics, to independently evaluate the quality and pertinence of the work.

A peer reviewer is an expert. Considered an honour, a duty or sometimes a burden, acting as a peer reviewer combines recognition by and contribution to a wider community. The work is mostly unpaid but that does not mean it is of no value. Peer review usually adds value to the reviewed research, to the journal and to the reviewer. Learning to evaluate research objectively is a key skill. Demonstrating expertise in a particular field is an important factor in progressing to more senior research positions.

Who are peer reviewers?

How do journal editors choose reviewers?

Do men and women have an equal chance in vetting where, when and how research is published?

Rosalind Franklin peers into a microscope, 1954. Credits:Henry Grant Collection/Museum of London Images

Scientific journals are so numerous that there are likely to be a wide range of policies and methods for finding peer reviewers. The APEER survey will take a snapshot of current practice in selecting peer reviewers and reveal whether women and men can contribute equally as peers.

Scientists, who are your peers?