Accepting manuscript reviews by Journal

February 28, 2014

Do you decide whether to accept a manuscript for review based on the Journal that is asking?

To what extent does this influence your decision to take a review assignment?


18 Responses to “Accepting manuscript reviews by Journal”

  1. dr24hours Says:

    Because I’m stupidly vain, I’d probably stretch a little if asked to review for a major journal. Other than that, Journal doesn’t really influence it.


  2. dr24hours Says:

    As long as it’s actually a legit journal, and not a predatory pub wasting everyone’s time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave Says:

    I do consider the journal, but my main concern is whether the topic is something I am qualified to comment on. Frequently it is not.


  4. It is a factor that has affected my acceptance, albeit generally only after considering the number of assignments I have already accepted and not yet completed, my interest in the question being addressed and my interest in the overall program of work of the authors. Accepting an assignment for a particular journal could also be influenced by my experience with the quality of the editorial process at the journal (appraised from my role as an author who had submitted to that journal or as a reviewer for that journal in the past).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. drugmonkey Says:

    I should point out that I don’t think I am influenced significantly by the journal. But we all know about subconscious biases….

    I *think* my main driver is topic domain. If one if my main interests is triggered, I’d review for an Acta Scandinavica!


  6. Grumble Says:

    Let’s just say that I’ve never turned down a review assignment from Nature.

    (And no, I’m not telling the denominator in the relevant fraction.)


  7. I’ve accepted and turned down reviews from all sorts of journals but the two drivers for me are whether I have time and whether the subject is close enough for me to have an informed analysis. The higher profile journals tend to request shorter turn around for reviews (10-14 days) so this factors in – although I usually turn around in a week (any editors reading this, I will deny that). There are some journals I rarely review for. These tend to send requests to review for papers that are on the periphery of my field so I decline mainly for that reason – but it tends to indicate to me that they are likely throwing papers at reviewers without much insight.

    The more interesting the actual abstract, the more likely I will review (even if inundated with other work). Also, if an abstract looks like it is making poor assumptions or goes against (my) dogma, I tend to review – either to try to correct the problem or to learn something new (break my own dogma).

    Like many people, I’m also a board member for a couple of journals and so try to looks at both perspectives. It can be hard to get people to review and (in my experience) the closer you align a manuscript with the expertise of a potential reviewer, the more likely the’ll accept. But some people refuse virtually everything you send.


  8. drugmonkey Says:

    But some people refuse virtually everything you send.

    Maybe you are throwing papers at them without much insight? 🙂


  9. Ola Says:

    If it’s from a journal I’m on the ed board of (and there are 6 of those currently), I take it.

    If it’s a big journal (C/N/S/PNAS) and actually sounds interesting, I take it.

    This nets me around 1-2 papers a week, so if it doesn’t fall into the above categories, or it’s the week before study section and I’m up to the balls in grant reviews, then it’s a firm NO with a suggestion for an alternate.


  10. Here are the reasons I say yes to a review request.

    -It from a society that I really want to support as an active member of the society (I don’t think I’ve ever said no to Insectes Sociaux, for example, but they don’t hit me up more than 2-3 times per year; they milk me at just the right rate.)

    -I reciprocate when others have accepted reviews I’ve sent their way. Anybody who makes my job as an SE easier is more likely to get a ‘agree to review’ from me as well.

    -The topic of the paper is really up my alley and I feel that I have specialized experience that would be particularly helpful.

    -I’m far more apt to say no to an Elsevier journal, and the above factors would have to weigh very heavily for me to say yes. If they ask ‘why’ when I say no, I say it’s because of Elsevier.


  11. xykademiqz Says:

    I now have a rule that I only review for those journals where I usually submit my own papers (or did sometime in the past). I make an exception for referrals from friends who are associate editors somewhere. I review a paper per week as is; there is simply not enough time to review more and there are too many crappy journals.


  12. eeke Says:

    My decision to review has more to do with the manuscript than with the Journal it is submitted to. In one case, I refused, because the journal said it made all reviews open to the public (if the ms is accepted), which I think is absurd. I wouldn’t mind revealing my name to the authors, but not to the public. Once the paper is published, who gives a shit what it took to get there. ffs.


  13. Pinko Punko Says:

    Almost automatically a yes if I have time. If close to my area, yes, even if I am crunched because I think these are the ones where I can contribute the most. Yes if from mini-Glam, but sadly likely partially for networking. Yes to society journals. Grudgingly yes to Plos One but only because I would prefer the review to have meaning.


  14. My standard for accepting review is solely if I think the paper sounds interesting. Since authors send their most interesting shittio to top journals, it thus covaries.


  15. qaz Says:

    My decision to review depends on (some combination of) (1) what I owe an editor, (2) whether the paper is something that is easy or hard for me to review, (3) whether the paper is something I really care about, and (4) how busy I am.

    (1) I’ve had friends [or my department chair!] say “I need someone to do this, can you do it, please…” Sometimes it’s a senior person who I’d really like to write me a good recommendation soon. But I’ve also noticed that editors sitting on my papers tend to send me papers to review…

    (2) If it’s something I know inside out, it takes a lot less time to review.

    (3) I’m a stickler for scholarship and want to make sure that the right papers get cited. (and not just mine!…)

    (4) I try to keep the number of reviews I’m doing at any time to a slow, but steady roar. I include grant reviews, paper reviews, and student exams in my list of things I’m currently reviewing…


  16. drugmonkey Says:

    Oh for sure qaz. Definitely take the ones that should be citing your work and make sure they do!!!!!


  17. The Other Dave Says:

    Sure, all the time. Reviewing can be hard work. Some journals are willing to send incredible steaming piles of crap out for review. Such papers are hard to read, and writing what’s wrong with them takes a lot of time. My favorite papers to review are ones that are already brilliant, and all I need to do is say so. I like journals that send me papers like that.

    Otherwise, generally, I’ll review a paper if it looks interesting. Or is maybe from someone I know.


  18. Kathy B. Says:

    I almost always accept review requests. The journal makes no difference. I am an AE for a reputable journal in my field and I know how difficult it can be to recruit reviewers who have the appropriate expertise to match a particular manuscript. And, I try to remember how really good reviews have greatly improved my own manuscripts.

    However, I have made it a policy not to review for two journals. For both journals, I spent a lot of time and effort reviewing a manuscript and came to the conclusion to suggest rejection (well-justified). And then the editor emailed to say the manuscript was accepted completely as is, without any revisions at all. I no longer want to spend time on reviewing for these journals when the AE or editor does not seem to consider my review. In addition, I do not want readers to know that I was a reviewer, implying I approve the manuscript, at least in general.


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