Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to do several article reviews for academic journals and therefore thought it would be a good idea to do a quick blog post on why an early career researcher such as myself might want to start doing article reviews.
Promoting research within your field:
The most obvious reason for participating in the peer review process is to be able to contribute in helping foster research within your research discipline as well as the larger academic community. While the peer review process in academia is not immune to criticism it nonetheless plays an important part in helping ensure that published research maintains a certain level of quality. By reviewing articles, early career researchers can play a small role in helping further the research within their disciplines.
Improve your writing and editing skills:
In addition to helping foster academic research within your research discipline another benefit of doing article reviews for early career researchers is that doing article reviews can help improve the overall writing ability of the reviewer. Article reviews, require the reviewer to carefully consider every aspect of an article and look at what is being said with a critical eye. Viewing research with such a critical eye has the added benefit of indirectly improving your own journal article writing ability as it helps you identify many of the things that you should avoid doing in your own writing. In each of the reviews have done so far I have come across minor annoyances in writing styles that I will try remove from my own writing in the future which should hopefully help improve my own writing ability.
Read interesting research before it gets published:
Another benefit of doing article reviews is that you get to read about interesting new research before it gets published. As the publishing process in journals can be a lengthy process, the research that gets published is often several years old by the time you read it. Doing article reviews therefore gives you an opportunity to access new research when it is in fact still new. Article reviews also provide extra reason to stay up to date on the broader literature in your field as the process requires you to have a good understanding of the existing research on the journal article topics you are reviewing to help determine if any relevant literature is missing from the article.
Increase your profile as a researcher:
Early career researchers are often looking for ways to increase their reputation as ‘experts’ in their fields. Doing article reviews can help early career researchers with establishing their reputation as an ‘expert’ in a particular area of research. In addition, many of the editors of the journals you carryout reviews for are well known researchers within your field. Thus, by doing a good job reviewing articles for them you have an opportunity to become more well known amongst this group of established researchers.
Get access to free journal articles:
Lastly as a token of appreciation publishers often give reviewers free access to several of their articles after they have completed an article review. For example, after my last article review the publisher offered me access to 40 journal articles for free for the next three months. While I generally have access to most of the journal articles I read through my university’s library subscription there are times where the university doesn’t subscribe to a specific journal I need access to, these free articles should therefore make the process of accessing such articles easier in the future.
These are just some of the reasons an early career researcher such as myself might want to start reviewing journal articles. Overall I think that all early career researchers that want to pursue a career in academia should start reviewing articles as soon possible in order to take advantage of as many of the benefits that I have mentioned in this blog post. While I probably won’t review every article that comes my way I will likely continue doing them on a regular basis to continue to benefit from the advantages I have mentioned in this blog post. Well that is all for now. I hope this blog post has persuaded other early career researchers who were thinking of getting involved in doing article reviews to give it a try.