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Working with Your Reviewers

Peer review is central to the process of scholarly publishing, providing authors with valuable feedback on their work, acting as a quality control and informing the editor’s decision-making process.

If your journal uses SAGE track (based on Scholar One Manuscripts), or another online peer review system, you can use this to maintain a database of your reviewers and monitor how frequently you are calling on them to review for you. If you don’t use SAGE track, we recommend that you build your own database of reviewers in order to track who has reviewed for you and when to help avoid overburdening reviewers wherever possible.

Publons

Invite your reviewers to join this global peer reviewer community. Publons allows reviewers to track, verify, and showcase their peer review contributions, all in one place. If a reviewer has not received an invitation to opt in to this free service, we encourage reviewers to set up a free profile directly on Publons. Find out more at publons.com.

ORCID

As part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent and fair peer review process SAGE is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID 

ORCID provides a unique and persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers from every other researcher, even those who share the same name, and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between researchers and their professional activities, ensuring that their work is recognized. Visit our ORCID homepage to learn more.

Researchers can also use their ORCID to gain recognition of their peer reviewing activities. Read ORCID’s six tips for building an authoritative ORCID record here: https://orcid.org/blog/2017/08/10/six-ways-make-your-orcid-id-work-you

Rewarding your reviewers

Though many reviewers value the opportunity to participate in scholarly dialogues in this way as highly regarded experts in their field, by and large reviewing papers is unpaid and can add significantly to their overall workload. The academic publishing community relies on an enormous amount of goodwill from reviewers and at SAGE, we are committed to ensuring our reviewers feel appreciated. This encourages continual reviewer participation and helps to improve the timeliness and quality of reviews. 

Over the last few years, several studies have looked into whether peer-reviewers are burdened with reviews. The Scholarly Kitchen blog (on discussing the findings of three surveys "Are Peer-Reviewers Overloaded? Or Are Their Incentives Misaligned?") concluded the following in terms of encouraging participation and incentivizing reviewers: 

  • Provide reviewers with free access to journal content
  • Acknowledge reviewers periodically in the journal
  • Provide reviewers with feedback on the outcome of the review decision
  • Give reviewers feedback on the quality of their review
  • Reward the best reviewers with appointments to the editorial board

Read the full post on Scholarly Kitchen.

SAGE agrees with these conclusions and we recommend that you put some or all of these in place as a SAGE journal editor. At SAGE, we offer all reviewers free online access to all SAGE journals and e-books for 60 days. Any reviewers appointed to the board receive a subscription to the journal. We also offer reviewers a 25% discount on SAGE books. Visit the Reviewer Rewards page for more information

Here are a few suggestions on showing appreciation to your reviewers:

  • Present Reviewer of the Year awards at annual board meetings 
  • Reserve a page in the journal at the end of the year thanking reviewers and listing their names 
  • Offer to write letters of recommendation

Best practice - improving quality of reviews

Advice on selecting reviewers

Although the vast majority of authors and reviewers act with great integrity, and we are enormously indebted to them we would also like to help you in reducing your journal’s exposure to any unscrupulous practices that may exist. 
If a reviewer does not have an institutional email address, and/or you are concerned about a reviewer’s authenticity we advise you to follow the steps below:

  • Search for the reviewer's name and institution to find their institutional email address.
  • Search for the reviewer's email address in a search engine: a fake email address will not be registered anywhere and is unlikely to appear in results.
  • Search for the reviewer's publication history; is the name, email address and institution on their account up-to-date and consistent with their past publications?

Please do not hestiate to contact your Publishing Editor if you are unsure or have any questions. 

COPE has produced a flowchart: How to spot potential manipulation of the peer review process.  Designed to help Editors recognize potential signs of peer review manipulation, the features or patterns of activity shown may indicate a potential issue, particularly when found in combination.

Recommended and opposed reviewers

Some journals offer authors the opportunity to suggest reviewers who they believe would be well-placed to comment on a manuscript (recommended) or highlight reviewers who they believe would not be suitable to review a paper (opposed). 
Recommended reviewers should be experts in their fields and should be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. At least one independently sourced reviewer for every one recommended reviewer should be used.

Recommended reviewers should not be assigned to a paper if:

  • The recommended reviewer is based at the same institution as any of the co-authors.
  • The recommended reviewer is based at the funding body of the paper.
  • The author has provided a personal (e.g. Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail) email account for the recommeded reviewer and an institutional email account cannot be found after performing a basic Google search (name, department and institution).

Please remember that you are under no-obligation to invite any recommended reviewers (or to avoid inviting any 'non - preferred reviewer') for any paper.