Transparent Peer Review at Methods in Ecology and Evolution

©Matt Clark

We’re starting a new initiative to make our peer review process more open and visible. If you submit a manuscript to Methods in Ecology and Evolution from today onwards, you’ll be able to choose to make the review process transparent.

But what does that actually mean? How will the process work? And why are we doing it?

Keep reading to find out!

How Does Transparent Peer Review Work?

When you submit a manuscript to Methods in Ecology and Evolution, you’ll be asked if you’d like to be part of our transparent peer review model (every manuscript will be included by default, but you can opt out). If you choose to stay with the transparent peer review model and your manuscript is published, the peer reviewers’ reports, your responses, and the editors’ decisions will be published alongside your final article. You can see an example of how this might look here. Continue reading

The DOs and DON’Ts of Selecting Preferred Reviewers

Like many journals, Methods in Ecology and Evolution asks authors to submit a list of preferred reviewers along with their manuscript. This can be a difficult task and is often one that is overlooked or rushed when submitting. However, this list can be very important in the peer review process.

Why Do We Need Preferred Reviewers?

©Nic McPhee

©Nic McPhee

There are a number of reasons that we ask authors to provide preferred reviewers. These suggestions can be extremely useful in a number of situations. For example, if the Associate Editor is struggling to find referees for a paper, the preferred reviewers become a very valuable resource. Not only are they potential reviewers, but if they are unable to review the paper they can suggest other people who might be able to.

As Methods is a generalist journal, sometimes papers are submitted that do not fit perfectly into the areas of expertise of our Associate Editors. In cases such as these, the preferred reviewers can be a wonderful starting point for the reviewer search. Providing the Editors with a good list of experts in the subject (who they may not know off the top of their head) can make the peer review process quicker and easier for everyone involved.

While Editors are by no means required or obliged to choose the reviewers that authors suggest, the list can often be a source of inspiration. If the Editor chooses not to invite any of the preferred reviewers, they may use the suggestions to try to find people with similar expertise.

Providing a good list of preferred reviewers can speed up the peer review process and make it a much less stressful experience. So, what makes a preferred reviewer list good or bad? The DOs and DON’Ts below should help you to suggest the right reviewers for your paper. Continue reading