"For those who pass through the programme, it is hoped that they will become regular reviewers as they progress in their careers, as well as perhaps becoming journal authors themselves."

- Annette Butler, Editorial Account Manager

As requests for reviewer support services from Editorial Office continue to grow, we are always looking for innovative ways to identify good reviewers who will offer quality reviews in a timely fashion and with constructive feedback.

Read on to learn more about the process, the streamlined stages that were implemented and the positive opportunities we witnessed.

The Peer Reviewer Programme

Led by a suite of psychiatric journals, Annette Butler, one of our Editorial Account Managers, helped the Royal College of Psychiatrists with their new Peer Reviewer Programme.

This involved inviting a new generation of reviewers to review papers, whilst using the guidance of a dedicated mentor. The programme has been a big success, with new reviewers recruited, alongside 11 mentors helping to review papers from five different journals.

Using mentors from editorial boards to support the writing of peer reviews

At the time of writing, four new reviewers specialising in different areas of psychiatry had been recruited on to a new Peer Review Programme.

Editorial Office’s role was to assess submitted papers in those journals participating in the programme. Using the manuscript keywords, Annette considered the suitability of the submission against the interests and specialisms of each new reviewer.

Once a paper was selected, the journal Editor assessed its merits and agreed on its suitability for review and also considered the reviewer match. Annette then identified an appropriate mentor (all current members of one of the journal’s board), based on their interests and availability.

The new reviewer and mentor worked together to write the peer review. The mentor was able to offer advice on what to write and how to write, offering constructive feedback for assessment.

However, the process also allowed the opinion of the new reviewer to be included. It allowed and encouraged the next generation in the psychiatric profession to give their view.The mentor and new reviewer relationship is important – broadening the new reviewer’s’ network.

The author of the paper was notified first, and, overwhelmingly, the response was ‘what a great idea!’.

The aim was for every new reviewer to write a review for a paper in each of the five BJPsych suite of journals. Once the new reviewers had written all five reviews, they were then flagged by the journals and on Editorial Office’s own systems as a “trained reviewer” – to be called upon for future relevant papers. Additionally, it is hoped that these mentored reviewers have a keen interest in the peer review process, as well as having developed new skills and confidence in writing a high-quality review.

Long term benefits for the students and the journals

This programme was a trial, but with its success, the plan is to launch a bigger, long-term programme, with a regular intake of at least 10 new reviewers.

For those who pass through the programme, it is hoped that they will become regular reviewers as they progress in their careers, as well as perhaps becoming journal authors themselves: journal authors with an excellent insight in to the journal publishing process and the world of academic publishing, who understand the review process, enabling them to submit high quality papers themselves.

Interested in developing something unique for your journal?

It’s been really interesting supporting this project in its infancy, and working with the BJPsych journals team to develop their processes.

Read more about it on their blog too: RCPsych: Preparing a new generation of peer reviewers.


What could you pioneer in journal publishing or within the peer review process?

Speak to us about how we may be able to assist. Draw from our experience. Let us know what you
are thinking. Email: [email protected] .

If you simply want support with Sourcing Reviewers, then we can also help with that too. Learn more here: