Finding Article Reviewers
Finding Article Reviewers
The Peer Review Process
Articles in Gates Open Research are thoroughly peer reviewed. Peer review is by invitation only and is open (the names and affiliations of reviewers are published alongside their reports).
The peer review process for Gates Open Research is led by the authors, which means they are responsible for identifying appropriate experts from relevant fields. However, to ensure balance and to facilitate the peer review process the editorial team may also suggest suitable reviewers when required.
We also provide a reviewer finding algorithm for each submission, which scans the article and reference list to identify researchers who may be suitable to review the article. Authors can suggest appropriate reviewers from this automatically generated list or suggest their own. After publication, authors are expected to continue suggesting reviewers until sufficient reviews have been received.
If your study includes complex statistical analysis or new statistical methods, please ensure that at least one of your initial reviewer suggestions has a proven track record as a statistics expert, and be aware that we may ask you to suggest additional statistics experts as the peer review process progresses.
We ask that authors do not approach reviewers about the peer review process independently, as this has the potential to influence and invalidate their review.
The Editorial Team’s Role
The editorial team are here to support the authors during the peer review process, and are
responsible for a number of tasks:
- ensuring the reviewer criteria are met;
- acting as the intermediary between authors and reviewers;
- contacting the reviewers on the authors’ behalf;
- ensuring all aspects of an article are reviewed;
- checking the peer review reports before they are published;
- for Opinion and Review articles, or articles on controversial topics, the editorial team may also supplement the authors' reviewer suggestions. This will be done in agreement with the authors in the interest of ensuring a fair and balanced peer review process.
- Qualified: Reviewers should typically hold a doctorate (PhD/MD/MBBS or equivalent). Exceptions will be made for scholarly disciplines where doctorates are not necessary (e.g. Education, Library Science), or when an individual has a demonstrable public record of expertise. If possible, when a reviewer suggestion is rejected due to lack of qualifications, the editorial team will suggest that their Principal Investigator/Supervisor is invited instead, and the original person could then take the role of co-reviewer.
- Expert: Reviewers should have published at least three articles as lead author in a relevant topic, with at least one article having been published in the last five years. In fields where a reviewer’s expertise is not typically measured by their publication record or if the suggested reviewer’s expertise is demonstrable in ways other than their publication record, please provide an explanation of their suitability.
- Impartial: Reviewers should not have any competing interests that can bias their assessment of the article – they should not be close collaborators of authors or be personally, associated with them. For example, a reviewer should not:
We understand that in small/specialized fields of research, it may not be possible to suggest reviewers who have not collaborated with the authors; if that is the case, please contact the Editorial Team to discuss how best to proceed.
- have co-authored with any of the lead authors in the three years preceding publication of Version 1;
- have co-authored with any of the lead authors since the publication of Version 1;
- currently work at the same institution as the authors;
- be a close collaborator with an author.
- Global: For any given article, we require that reviewers are from different institutions. (This does not apply to large, multi-site institutions, such as Max-Planck Institutes or University of California). We also strongly encourage authors to suggest geographically-diverse reviewers to gain an international perspective on the article. If all suggested reviewers are from the same institution or country, the Editorial Team may request that additional names of potential reviewers from different locations are provided.
If you feel that our standard reviewer criteria are not appropriate for your area of research please do not hesitate to get in touch
, and we’ll be happy to discuss this with you.
Dos and Don’ts for Suggesting Reviewers
Be ready to suggest reviewers even after the article is published
We operate an author-led open peer review model. This means it is the authors’ responsibility to provide reviewer suggestions until sufficient peer review reports have been published.
Make sure suggested reviewers are experts in the relevant subject area
We ask our authors to provide reviewer suggestions because we believe that they are best placed to identify the most appropriate expert reviewers, within the appropriate field of research.
Try and ensure a global spread of reviewers
For any given article, the reviewers must come from separate institutions and should not be affiliated with the authors’ institutions. We also strongly encourage authors to suggest reviewers from around the world where possible, so that a global perspective can be gained for the article, and to ensure that all aspects of the work are reviewed. If all the suggested reviewers are from the same institution or country, the Editorial Team may request that additional reviewers from different locations are nominated before continuing.
Ensure reviewers are suitable before approving them
To provide authors with a shortlist of potential reviewers, each article is scanned by our Reviewer Finder Tool, which automatically provides a list of researchers who have published related articles. Authors can suggest appropriate reviewers from this automatically generated list (which can be accessed via the ‘Suggest Reviewers’ link next to your submitted or published article in My Account
), but must use their own judgement to determine if the suggested reviewers have the appropriate expertise to review the article.
Discuss with your co-authors
If you are struggling to find time to suggest appropriate reviewers or will be out of reach for a period of time, consider asking one of your co-authors to take over the peer review process. Please inform the editorial team
if you decide to do so in order to ensure we update your file.
Contact us if you have any questions
If we have rejected a reviewer who you believe to be suitable, or if you have any questions or concerns about our reviewer criteria, we are always happy to discuss. Please email us
so that we can explore possible options.
Suggest reviewers who have recently closely collaborated with you or your co-authors
We consider this to be a potential conflict of interest. A reviewer should not be based at the same institution as any author, be a close collaborator, or have co-authored with any of the lead authors for three years before the publication of the article. Please note that we make exceptions for cases where researchers have published together on the findings or consensus from a large consortia.
Suggest reviewers who do not have the right expertise
The editorial team will not invite reviewers who do not appear to have appropriate expertise. Suggesting inappropriate reviewers can cause significant delays to the peer review process.
Contact the reviewers directly
To ensure a fair peer review process is maintained, the editorial team acts as the intermediary between authors and reviewers. By directly contacting the reviewers, authors could not only influence their assessment of the article, but could also dissuade them from reviewing. Please be aware that if evidence of an author coercing reviewers is brought to our attention, we will investigate and take appropriate action.
Authors can respond to a peer review report by posting a comment under the report.
Give up on peer review!
As Gates Open Research operates an author-led open peer review model, it is the authors’ responsibility to provide reviewer suggestions, until sufficient peer review reports have been published. If you are struggling to provide reviewer suggestions, why not approach your co-authors for additional suggestions, or check out the suggestions generated by our automated Reviewer Finder Tool on the ‘Suggest Reviewers’ page, which can be accessed via a link next to your submitted or published article in My Account
. We also provide some hints and tips for finding reviewers (see below), and the editorial team are always happy to assist you.
Hints and Tips for Finding Reviewers
To help you identify suitable reviewers, we’ve compiled a list of methods:
- To assist authors in identifying suitable reviewers, we provide a Reviewer Finder Tool. Our algorithm analyses the submission and provides a ranked list of reviewer candidates based on leading authors of related published studies. Authors can access this tool via the 'Suggest Reviewers' link next to submitted and published articles in the Submissions section in My Account. As this is an automatically generated list of potential reviewers, authors must use their own judgement to determine if the suggested reviewers have the appropriate expertise to review the article.
- The authors of the references cited in your article can be a good starting point for finding reviewers working in your specific field.
Searching abstracting and indexing databases such as Google Scholar, PubMed, Web of Science* and Scopus* (or other subject-specific literature databases) for recent articles with specific keywords can help you to identify authors currently working in the same field as yourself, and who may be suitable to review your article.
As an expert in your area of research, you will likely be aware of prominent laboratories whose staff may be suitable to review your articles - try searching their website for potential reviewers. You can also search for specific experts with whom you have no recent collaborations, as they or their postdocs may be suitable to review.
- Journal/Author Name Estimator and other similar tools can help to identify authors who have published related articles.
* These are subscription-based services and may not be available at your institution.