Junior colleagues benefit greatly from receiving mentoring in peer review. Giving constructive feedback is a valuable skill that reviewers but also peer review mentors should master.

Tips on providing feedback on peer reviews in the Web of Science Academy:

  • You can comment on the structure of the review. Everyone has their own way of doing this but it should be clear and easy to read. The review template that we provide suggests that they start with an overall statement or summary, then major strengths or an impact statement, and finally major and minor weaknesses as a numbered list of specific comments.

  • The tone and language of the review, it should always be professional and polite.

  • It should be specific and detailed enough for the authors to know what it is they need to correct or improve e.g “the first paragraph in the results section” or “table 2 column 3“.

  • Additional comments on the background, methodology, results, discussion and conclusions you think they could have commented on.  

  • Remember to be specific in your feedback, if you think something could be improved then please provide an example of how it could be improved.

  • Please be constructive and supportive, remember they signed up for the course in order to learn, but also don’t be afraid to point out weaknesses in their review. 

  • Please be timely with your feedback. The students will learn best if they get their feedback right away and revise their review straight away as well. 

On Publons we give both reviewers recognition for a collaborative review, read more about how here. After they have completed a review with you, you may consider whether you’d like to pass on some of your review invitations from journals, given that the editor is notified and agrees to the arrangement.