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Are you co-reviewing?

Reviewing the work of colleagues has always been a vital part of an academic career. But how can you get involved in journal peer review when you are just starting your career?

In selecting reviewers, journal editors are usually looking for experience in publishing or reviewing research. Often the senior academic reviewer delegates or shares the reviewing with a less experienced colleague – so called ‘co-review’. At the Society, we believe co-reviewers should be properly recognised for their contribution.

Many early career researchers contribute ideas and/or text to peer review reports their boss has been invited to write – a practice called 'co-reviewing'. Of course, this is nothing new, but now publishers are starting to recognise this practice as a virtue – an opportunity for younger researchers to receive mentoring and training in peer review. 

Formalising co-review

In 2019 we formalised this practice into editorial policy
Co-reviewing a manuscript with a single junior colleague can be an important learning experience that we are happy to support 
To provide accountability and appropriate credit, the name of the co-referee should be disclosed to the editors in advance  
Each co-reviewers should agree on the wording of the review, and the same principles relating to confidentiality and competing interests apply to both reviewers. The senior reviewer should be the main point of contact for the discussion between the reviewers, but the senior reviewer can confer with their co-reviewer during this discussion.

Recognising co-review 

It is important to recognise the work of co-reviewers. At the Society it is done in two ways. 
1. When completing the reviewer scoresheet, the main reviewer is invited to add the name of the co-reviewer and confirm permission for the name to be included in the annual article listing reviewers. This article is free to access and fully citable and can be linked to in applications for tenure and grants. This is the first year where we are including co-reviewers in this article. 
2. Another way is through our integration with Publons, where the main reviewer is able to provide credit to their co-reviewer. 

What can you do? 

Due to its importance in mentoring, training and recognition, we are keen to significantly grow the number of researchers experiencing co-review. What can you do? 
Talk to you more senior colleagues asking to get involved in peer review. Senior researchers, please help. If you are invited, take the opportunity – but make sure they recognise your work through the options outlined above. 

2021 reviewer articles 

Biology Letters
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Open Biology
Proceedings of the Royal Society A 
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Royal Society Open Science 

Find out more about (co-) reviewing for the Royal Society. 

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