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Early career researchers have questions about peer review—we asked the ASLO editors for answers

April 8, 2022

Peer review is the formal means by which the scientific community assesses the originality, reproducibility, validity, and quality of a research study (Bakker and Traniello 2019). As such, peer review assures nonexperts that they can trust a study's findings (Jamieson et al. 2019). Despite the critical importance of peer review, graduate students, postdocs, and other early career researchers (ECRs) have limited resources for learning about this process (but see Nicholas and Gordon 2011 and Nature Communications 2021). A recent survey found that most reviewers have not received formal training on peer review and that reviewers of all career stages (77%), especially ECRs (89%), desire further training (Warne 2016). This reflects a need for guidance regarding when and how to engage in peer review, best practices for conducting a peer review, and how editors weigh peer reviews in their editorial decisions.

In an effort to help new reviewers navigate this process, we (the Raelyn Cole Editorial Fellows) hosted an Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) webinar on peer review in September of 2021 (recording available: The webinar had 329 registrants, including 198 students or postdocs, underscoring the desire for peer review resources. The webinar content was largely based on a survey of the associate editors (AEs) of ASLO's three peer-reviewed journals (n = 25 respondents), consisting of five open-ended questions about peer review. Here, we use insights from our survey and webinar to describe how ECRs can join the reviewer pool, provide guidance for writing a useful and time-efficient review, and discuss challenges and opportunities in the evolving landscape of peer review.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Early career researchers have questions about peer review—we asked the ASLO editors for answers
DOI 10.1002/lol2.10254
Authors Mary R. Gradoville, Bridget Deemer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Limnology and Oceanography Letters
Index ID 70232318
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center