Reviewers are essential to the scholarly publishing process. Academics rely on peer review to corroborate their research and add value to it through critical engagement, before publication. Always endeavouring to publish quality research, Emerald depends on effective peer review processes to uphold the integrity of the journals and individual articles we publish.
As specialists in a given area of research, reviewers are well placed to assess the soundness of another author's work and share their own knowledge, furthering the research. This act of review also has huge benefits for the reviewer themselves:
Reviewing an article can be time consuming. Reviews are most beneficial to authors when they are thorough and specific.
As such, it is better not to review if you don’t have the time, than to take on a review and not be able to give it your full attention.
Be sure to assess your other commitments before replying to an Editor's invitation to review. You can always recommend a colleague who has more free time and make it clear that you would like to review in the future.
Does it truly match your area of expertise?
The Editor who has approached you may not be familiar with the details of your work, but rather may only be aware of your work in a broader context. Only accept an invitation if you are competent to review the article.
To help the Editor match you with the right paper, please keep your Scholar One accounts up to date with relevant keywords and institutional details.
Are you able to manage the deadlines given?
Deadlines for reviews vary per journal. You will be informed of the deadline when you are invited to review. Please let the Editor know that you received their request within a couple of days. Timeliness is an essential part of the review process and not replying to an invitation can significantly increase a papers time in review. There are no repercussions for declining an invitation to review.
If you feel the review will take you longer to complete than normal, please contact the Editor to discuss the matter. The Editor may ask you to recommend an alternate reviewer, or may be willing to wait a little longer (e.g., if the paper is highly specialized and reviewers are difficult to find). As a general guideline, if you know you will not be able to complete a review within the time frame requested, you should decline to review the paper.
A conflict of interest will not necessarily eliminate you from reviewing an article, but full disclosure to the Editor will allow them to make an informed decision.
For example; if you work in the same department or institute as one of the authors; if you have worked on a paper previously with an author; or you have a professional or financial connection to the article. These should all be listed when responding to the Editor's invitation for review.