At eLife, we want to help early-career scientists build their reputations and gain recognition for their experience and emerging expertise. Focusing only on the publication record (and associated metrics) fails to recognise the many ways in which emerging talent can be evident. So, with advice from our Early-Career Advisory Group and community of editors, eLife has introduced a new way to help early-stage, independent researchers gain experience in eLife’s peer-review process and receive credit for their contributions.
This new pool of reviewers includes early-stage, independent researchers who have been nominated by a member of eLife’s editorial board as having the expertise and responsiveness to begin to serve as a regular peer reviewer. So far in this pilot initiative, nearly 300 early-career researchers have been invited to register and provide details of their expertise.
Once included, these individuals can be easily identified from within the editorial system and invited by an eLife editor to review relevant articles and experience our consultative peer-review process. At eLife, reviewers discuss their comments openly with one another, so they can agree on clear instructions for revision, if a revision is invited. eLife will provide the early-career reviewers with information and resources to support them.
The pool of early-career reviewers builds on our support for co-review. A senior researcher co-reviewing a manuscript with an experienced junior colleague can be an important learning experience that eLife editors are happy to support. As a long-standing policy, eLife asks reviewers to indicate if a co-reviewer has been involved, although, in this case the co-reviewer isn't directly exposed to the discussions that take place between the reviewers at eLife.
Upon completing a peer review, all reviewers are encouraged to use publons.com to ensure that their contributions are recognised.
The early-career reviewer pool is just one of eLife’s efforts to support career progression in the life sciences. Our mission is to help scientists accelerate discovery and encourage responsible behaviours. We work closely with our Early-Career Advisory Group to help inform how we may advance our mission with their interests in mind.