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Selecting reviewers

Your reviewer pool

Sourcing and securing the services of good reviewers is perhaps the most difficult aspect of managing the peer review process. It is important to maintain a sufficient pool of expert reviewers to enable submissions to be reviewed quickly and competently. If your journal uses ScholarOne Manuscripts you will be able to keep track of reviewers’ areas of expertise by asking them to add keywords to their profile (if you use a pre-defined list of keywords it is a good idea to review these regularly to ensure they are current – ask your Publishing Editor if you need any advice on this), see the number of times they have been asked to review and, if you use ScholarOne’s rating system, see the speed and quality of their reviews.


Tips for expanding your reviewer database

  • Ask your Editorial Board to nominate colleagues who might be willing support your journal as a reviewer.
  • Check the reference list in the submitted paper to find authors of related work who could act as reviewers.
  • Approach your own authors who have previously published papers in the same area, though please be aware of any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Include early career researchers in your search who may be keen to start reviewing – supporting inexperienced reviewers will build loyalty and ensure better quality reviews.
  • Search relevant databases and repositories e.g. Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed.
  • Sage’s Reviewer Selection Handbook has some excellent advice on how to build an effective reviewer database.

Sage’s policy on recommended and opposed reviewers

Sage does not permit the use of author-suggested (recommended) reviewers at any stage of the submission process, be that through the web based submission system or other communication. Reviewers should be experts in their fields and should be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Our policy is that reviewers should not be assigned to a paper if:

  • The reviewer is based at the same institution as any of the co-authors.
  • The reviewer is based at the funding body for the paper.
  • The author has recommended the reviewer – and under no circumstances if the author provided a personal (e.g. Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail) email account for the recommended reviewer and an institutional email account cannot be found after performing a basic Google search (name, department and institution).