New Tools and Classic Techniques: Top Tips for Finding Quality Reviewers

October 1, 2017 Noel McGlinchey

When Wiley surveyed editors last year, you told us that the biggest challenge you face is finding peer reviewers. Here are some tips and resources to help you find rigorous reviewers more easily.

The members of Wiley’s Peer Review Management team run the editorial offices of around 350 journals globally across all disciplines and we have many years of experience in getting the most out of the electronic systems used by editorial offices. These are most useful new tools and classic approaches we have found that an editor can use to find reviewers.

New Tools

1.  Author discovery tools
The best reviewers are often those who have published most recently on a subject. It means that their work has been tested in peer review, and their research interests and contact details will be discoverable and up to date. Recent authors are familiar with the latest literature and reviewing could be an opportunity to preview research that might inform the next steps in their own work. So, recent authors make keen reviewers with up-to-date knowledge. These two tools are great ways to locate authors:

a. Reviewer locator (ScholarOne Manuscripts)
This tool searches manuscripts for technical terms and then searches Web of Science for articles with the same terms, but they aren’t ranked by date or quality. Older articles tend to be unhelpful because the authors may have moved on: literally, in that they may have changed institutions so the e-mail address is invalid; or metaphorically, in that they may now be researching in a different area. So, click on the tab that opens the article in Web of Science and follow the citation trail to the most recent article. Recent authors make the most useful pool of reviewers and higher impact journals may provide more rigorous authors/reviewers. You can select reviewers straight from Reviewer Locator by checking ‘Add’ as shown in the image to the right.

Reviewer Locator is already available for many titles where the Web of Science results will be most relevant, and there is a waiting list for journals to introduce this tool. If your journal does not currently use Reviewer Locator, check with your Wiley Peer Review Management contact or Journal Manager to see if it might be suitable for your journal.

b.  iThenticate
iThenticate works differently from Reviewer Locator, which merely looks for published articles with similar words, by conducting a similarity check through its plagiarism software. Often highly relevant articles will be listed which Reviewer Locator has missed. Some may be old but again you can follow the Web of Science citation trail to recent articles. Furthermore, authors of articles listed as similar and authors citing those articles will make ideal reviewers. In the example pictured, we can see there is a good chance that Tony McGhie would make a good reviewer as he has authored two relevant articles; reading the titles and abstracts of his articles would likely confirm this.

You should be able to access iThenticate direct from your manuscript files within your electronic editorial office system (e.g. ScholarOne Manuscripts). This is suitable for all journal types. If it is not already in use, reach out to your Wiley Peer Review Management contact or Journal Manager to discuss implementation.

2.  Publons
Publons is a free website which allows users to create profiles and publicly record their peer review and editorial activity. Users can search for reviewers by name, subject area, or institution, or search by journal to see top reviewers for other journals in your field. This operates similarly to reviewer finder tools within journals’ own reviewer databases and provides information on the number of reviews Publons users have completed, and what journals they’ve reviewed for, as well as their chosen areas of interest.

If your journal has integrated its Electronic Editorial Office with Publons, Editors will also have access to a private partner dashboard specifically for your journal. You can see how many of your reviewers are using Publons and their demographics, as well as where manuscripts reviewed in your journal were ultimately published (i.e. in your journal or, if rejected, in another journal in the field).  You can use the dashboard to contact users who have indicated they are interested in reviewing for your journal, or search through graduates of Publons’ Reviewer Academy for potential reviewers in your subject area.

You can create a free account at and for access to your journal’s dashboard, contact your Wiley Journal Manager for your customized link.

Classic Techniques

1.  Recently Accepted Authors
Authors of recently accepted, similar articles generally feel complimented when invited to review. This will almost certainly be the case if they have never reviewed before or if you invite them because of your interest in their own article. We find that having just had an article accepted, they also feel fondly towards a journal at that point in time and are more likely to accept an invitation to review!

2.  Editorial Board
The Editorial Board of a journal is a great resource, not only for performing peer review on those especially tricky papers, but also for getting recommendations from a broader range of professional networks.

3.  Co-authors on similar articles (both in your journal and in related journals)
Editors who scan the co-author lists of similar articles often uncover previously untapped reviewing potential. This can be a good way to build a pool of reviewers in a subject area in which an Editor may not have direct contacts.

4.  Citing Authors
It can be worth inviting authors who have recently cited a related article published in your journal. They not only have an interest in the subject matter, but also an appreciation of the peer review in your journal and its value to their subject community.



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