Peer Review Week: Supporting our Editors and Reviewers

As part of Peer Review Week 2017, and the topic of transparency in peer review, we take a look at some of the ways in which the British Ecological Society publications team aims to make the peer review process a little clearer for our Editors and Reviewers.

Supporting Editors

Joining an editorial board for the first time can mean seeing the peer review process from an entirely new angle. As well as assessing the science of each manuscript, Associate Editors balance multiple papers, choose and invite Reviewers, collate reviews and offer their overall recommendations to the Senior Editors.

To support those making the transition from reviewing to editing, Journal of Applied Ecology is pleased to offer our Associate Editor mentoring opportunity. Each year we invite individuals with little to no editorial experience to apply for this two-year training post, during which they work with an assigned Senior Editor as they handle papers through the peer review process; receiving advice and feedback along the way.

Here’s what some of our previous mentees have said about the experience:

‘It was great to experience how the whole review process actually works and I got even more convinced that peer review is not just a necessary evil; it really helps researchers to make their papers stronger’

‘One important thing I have learned is how patient, skilled and generous most reviewers and editors are with their advice and criticism – it is inspiring and reassuring to see that the peer review process is robust and functioning well’

‘I saw the mentoring program at Journal of Applied Ecology as a unique opportunity to understand more deeply the complex and frequently frustrating process of peer review. I was also interested in finding potential ways to improve this system that we all commonly complain about’

‘This program has seeded in me an interest in the editorial process of scientific papers and helped me develop a sense of quality and fairness that I never got doing standard reviews’

The application period for this years’ Associate Editor mentoring opportunity has now closed but do watch this space as we’ll be introducing our new mentees soon.

Supporting Reviewers

While the mentoring scheme for Journal of Applied Ecology builds editorial experience, our sister journal Methods in Ecology in Evolution and the BES Quantitative Ecology Special Interest Group are excited to launch a new Peer Review Mentoring Scheme. The new initiative aims to match mentees to mentors with similar subject area expertise in order to help Early Career Researchers develop their reviewing skills. For now, the scheme focuses solely on statistical ecology and evolutionary biology, but they hope to be able to expand to other subject areas in future.

Whether you’re keen to gain reviewing experience as a mentee or you’d like to share your knowledge of the relevant subjects as a mentor, do visit to find out more.

Guide to Peer Review

Finally, whether you’re new to reviewing or have a wealth of experience but would like a light refresher of the processes, we offer the Guide to Peer Review. This freely-available resource provides a succinct overview of the many aspects of peer review, from hands-on practical advice about the actual process to explaining the less tangible aspect, such as reviewer ethics.

This guide is a part of the Guides to Better Science series by the British Ecological Society.


Please contact  ( for the Peer Review Mentoring Scheme) if you have any questions about the above initiatives.

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