Author-Suggested Reviewers

Several recent incidents of peer review fraud have involved the use of author-suggested reviewers.

The solicitation of author-suggested reviews is a configuration option in Editorial Manager, so can be de-activated based on article type. The advantages and dis-advantages of author-suggested reviewers has been discussed on the EM Listrev. Some journals use the linked alternate reviewers functionality to ensure that each manuscript has at least one non-suggested reviewer.

Active participant in the Editorial Manager User Community, Alice M. Landwehr, managing editor and editorial support specialist, manages peer review for several journals and has experience with various workflow configurations based on an individual journal’s policies and procedures, which Editorial Manager can support. She suggests some best practices for using these features:

“Not every journal has the Propose and/or Oppose Reviewer features enabled based on editors’ preferences,” said Landwehr. “For those that do, I recommend to editors that if they use an author-suggested reviewer they should also use a non-author-suggested reviewer or two. Using, or not using, one of the author-suggested reviewers is always within the discretion of the SME [subject matter expert] editor.”

“Generally, if I am the one who sends the reviewer invitations for a journal, when the SME editor says to invite the author-suggested reviewers and the suggested reviewers are ‘new’ to that journal, I do exactly that: Register and invite one of the new author-suggested reviewers and invite the other reviewers who are already known to/established with that journal,” Landwehr said. “If adding more than one author-suggested reviewer, I link them so that if the first new author-suggested reviewer declines [or does not respond], the next new author-suggested reviewer will be invited—so that we don’t end up with all new author-suggested reviewers at the end of the review process.”

“Authors often suggest the very reviewers the editors would have invited anyway and those who have reviewed for our journal frequently,” said Landwehr. “Although I realize that there are many facets and complications involved to all of this, there is little reason, in my opinion, not to ask them to review just because the authors also happen to know that they are the experts in the field and thus included them on the list.”

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