Peer Review Resources

Publons Academy hat

There are possibly as many opinions of what makes good peer review as there are practitioners of it. When starting out, it can be hard to know how to write a peer review due to the lack of quality resources available for new reviewers.

We've pulled together the best resources and advice from experienced reviewers and organisations to supplement the Publons Academy (our practical reviewer training course).

+ Advice for Reviewers

We often hear that it's hard for early career researchers to receive invitations to review and that once they receive such requests there aren't any great resources for them to draw on in writing their first review.

Below you'll find tips and suggestions from experienced reviewers as well as externally prepared resources for the beginning peer reviewer.

The first time I was asked to review a paper, I was extremely honored (Finally! I am A Real Scientist!) but not sure what to do at all. There were not yet a lot of resources available online, it had not been part of my schooling, and I did not have a lot of experience in how to critically read a paper.
-- Elisabeth M. Bik (click here to read the full post)

Do not over- or under-estimate the level of expertise that you as a reviewer have. Do not read the discussion of a paper when its method is wrong. Try to be supportive, and guide the author if the paper's problems are not fatal. Do not reject good papers from authors whose first language is not English, just because of grammatical errors.
-- Shervin Assari (click here to read the full post)

We've begun soliciting advice from our users on how they write reviews, when a scientist is qualified to write reviews, when a reviewer should reject an invitation and more. You can find some of these listed below but there are more pieces on our blog so head over to as well.

+ Peer Review examples

I try my best to keep my upcoming manuscripts free from those issues to which I often notice in other manuscripts during reviewing and suggest as remarks. Thus it helps towards a positive improvement.
-- Yogendra Kumar Mishra (click here to read the full post)

What better way to get an idea of the qualities of a good peer review than to read published examples of constructive reviews. Below you'll find links to the Publons profiles of journals who practice open peer review as well as some published pre and post-publication reviews.

+ External resources

There is only so much research I can conduct/manage on my own, so contributing to the research of others is an opportunity to have a bigger impact on the scientific progress.
-- Rafael Santos (click here to read the full post)

We’ve also started collating external resources found around the web. Here are our favourites (contact us if you have suggestions for more):

+ How to spot predatory publishers

Unsure about submitting to a particular journal or publisher? Refer to our publisher checklist and guidance or the Think. Check. Submit. campaign website to help make an informed decision.

For more information about how and why we developed our journal checklist, read our blog post.