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Anatomy of a Peer-Review - Part 3: Getting Endorsements

As part of our first ever review writing competition on Publons, we're writing a series of articles on how to write the best reviews possible. Read on, and improve your chances to win!

So last week, we covered finding the perfect paper and writing an excellent review. But the work is not over just yet - the winner of our competition is going to be decided by the number of endorsements earned. For a lot of people, and I'm guessing, for most scientists this will be the hardest part of the process.

Scientists are not typically trained to promote their own work, even among other scientists. Usually, the extent of a scientist's work to promote their research is just to submit it to the journal they consider to be the best. The publisher takes care of all the rest, so dissemination and promotion of research has fallen off our own radars a bit as scientists.

What you're going to want to do is share your review with other scientists. Through whatever links you might have - email, academia, twitter, blogs, telephone… all you have to do is ask them to read what you've written and then endorse it (if they agree with what you've written, of course!). There's a basic principle in marketing for businesses, which is that you should try and put your value proposition in front of as many interested people as you can. That's what we're going to try to do with our reviews!

There are three key words to notice here. The first one is interested. There's not a lot of use in sharing your review of an astrophysics paper with, say, a medical doctor who wouldn't be interested. The people you share your review with should be in a position to understand and critically evaluate what you've written.

The second key word is value. It's always useful to think of what you are offering the other person when you make a request. In this case, the value you offer to your potential endorser is the knowledge in your review - and remember, that information is definitely valuable! It could bring to their attention new research that could help them, or give them new ideas and ways of thinking. You will get the best results when your review is of value to the reader.

And the last key word is many! At the end of the day, winning the competition is a numbers game. So don't just try one or two appropriate people. Try to find lots! Perhaps there are authors of papers that have cited you that you could reach out to. Maybe you could share it around your school or department. And maybe some of your collaborators would like to read what you have to say.

So, there's the basic idea. Scope out as many people as you can, who would be interested to read your review and who might benefit from it. Share your work with them, and just ask them to endorse you if they think it's good work! You'll see endorsements coming in in no time.

Get out there and promote, peer-reviewers!

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