Early-Career Reviewers Pool: Authors can now select and nominate early-career reviewers for their work

Long used by our Reviewing Editors, a vetted list of ∼600 early-career reviewers is now available to prospective authors when searching for suitable reviewers during the submission process.
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As part of this initiative to encourage inclusion of early-career researchers (ECRs) in peer review, authors can now browse the details of keen peer reviewers in our pool via a database accessible from eLife Author and Reviewer Guides. We share researchers’ keywords and webpage to enable authors to find relevant ECR experts as reviewers for their work.

“I was happy to participate in this program and learned much from working with eLife editors in reviewing papers related to my field.” - Dorothy Lerit, Emory University School of Medicine, former early-career reviewer, contributed four reviews across four manuscripts.

Until this point, the success of this programme was restricted by its sole reliance upon editors to recruit from this pool at the reviewer selection stage. Addition to the pool not only increases the visibility of our early-career reviewers from within the editorial system, but encourages our editors to recruit from outside of their regular networks. We hope the availability of the database will encourage greater diversity of reviewer suggestions on submission.

Launched in 2016 with support from the eLife Early-Career Advisory Group (ECAG), eLife’s early-career reviewer pool allows early-career scientists to gain exposure to eLife’s consultative peer review process, and in turn build a track record as competent reviewers. ECRs can then have their contributions formally recognised through independent services such as Publons and ORCID. The pool is continuously growing, and postdoctoral researchers and early-stage group leaders can apply to join it. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and overseen by Reviewing Editors.

Recently, we focussed on diversifying the breadth of expertise represented by the pool members, and we will continue to expand it with discipline-specific recruitment.

“Moving forward, we hope to spark a wider shift toward a more supportive and inclusive peer review. One in which early-career researchers are rightly recognised as competent experts and readily entrusted with peer review assignments”, says Kora Korzec, Head of Communities at eLife.

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