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I have just been invited to review a paper submitted to a very good journal in my field, and I accepted the request.

However, I will also submit my last PhD application within the next couple of days. Naturally, I will not be able to submit the review this soon.

I am wondering whether I should include in my CV that I am a reviewer for this specific journal. I am not sure how this would be considered in a PhD application, but I think it would strengthen my profile, given that this will be the second most prestigious journal to which I will have provided a review.

Perhaps the question can be better worded as: at which point it is OK to disclose that you review for a journal, particularly in a job application? Is it as soon as you receive the invitation? As soon as you accept the invitation? As soon as you submit the review? As soon as the review process ends? Or after a significant amount of time has passed?

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    I guess mentioning it might make it obvious which paper exactly you were asked to review. As a student, you are most likely a specialist for one small subtopic, right? For that reason, I'd not mention it. Pity, but peer-reviewing has to stay confidential. – Karl Dec 22 '17 at 16:47
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    @Karl confidential is different than anonymous. Most journals, at least they used to, publish a list of their reviewers. Even in a small subfield there are still enough papers being reviewed in any reasonable time window. – StrongBad Dec 22 '17 at 18:29
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    Why does the title say "job application" but the body says "PhD application"? (I thought from the title that you are applying for a postdoc or lecturer position). Perhaps change it to "studentship application". – Qsigma Dec 22 '17 at 19:19
  • Read the first page and write up some comments to the authors. You've now started the review and could write on your application that you are a reviewer for journal X. – che_kid Dec 23 '17 at 16:29
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I am not sure how this would be considered in a PhD application, but I think it would strengthen my profile, given that this will be the second most prestigious journal to which I will have provided a review.

While it doesn't influence the when, I am not sure your premise is correct. There is something important about an editor asking you to review for a journal since it demonstrates that someone (specifically a respected someone) thinks you have a thorough understanding of a field and are capable of independent critical thought. The act of reviewing is not really worth much.

As for when you can disclose it, I think this is a little messy. I would probably wait until the editor sends a decision letter to the author. At that point, you have clearly reviewed for a journal. Prior to that, I might mention that I have agreed to review for Editor X at Journal Y.

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  • Thank you for the answer. I am not sure I understand the first paragraph, though: being invited is something worth including in the CV (and relevant to the application), more so than writing the review? Would it still be advisable to add to the CV if, for instance, I were invited but declined to write the review? – Dijon Dec 22 '17 at 15:39
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    @Dijon something like that. I think people list reviews on their CVs to demonstrate that they are respected and contribute to the administrative aspects of the field. For a PhD application, the administrative stuff is not nearly as important as the respect. Turning down the review, has a negative connotation, and is something like a positive (asked to review) offset against a negative (turned it down). Your current position is positive (asked to review) and irrelevant (deadline hasn't happened yet). – StrongBad Dec 22 '17 at 15:45

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