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I acted as a reviewer for a paper this year and would like to mention this in my CV. However, I would like the authors not to know that I was the reviewer before some time.

At the moment, I have remained intentionally vague in my CV, mentioning only the journal name and the topic of the article. Is there a way to do better, namely:

  • Is it possible to make this review work verifiable? (perhaps by giving the email of the editor?)
  • Is it ethical to point to the full published paper in a CV that I don’t intend to distribute widely?
  • 32
    Usually, in a CV, you simply list the journals for which you acted as a reviewer, not the individual papers you reviewed. And if a committee wants to verify that you really reviewed anything for those journals, they can simply contact the editors. – Massimo Ortolano Mar 3 at 15:42
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    How is mentioning the paper name vague? Or did you mean the journal name? – rafa11111 Mar 3 at 17:48
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    You have no control over the distribution information in your CV, unless you never send it to anyone. If it gets into the hands of anybody who has an issue with that particular paper, or that topic, do you want to send out a message like "AllthePineTrees must have thought it was good (even though I think it's just plain wrong) since he/she reviewed it and it got published"? Don't kid yourself - people talk to each other, and stuff gets around, even if it takes years to do so. – alephzero Mar 3 at 17:57
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    Regarding documentation, I started using Publons recently: "Publons is a website and free service for academics to track, verify and showcase their peer review and editorial contributions for academic journals." – Richard Hardy Mar 3 at 19:08
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    What would the benefit be of specifically referencing one article that you reviewed? – JMac Mar 4 at 14:03
43

The standard information to give is the journal's name and only this. As far as I recall I have never seen a CV that gives more details than that (mostly I know academic CVs of mathematicians).

I would not go as far as saying that it would be unethical to include more information, but it would seem unusual and the advantage is not very clear.

If you are concerned about the claim not being credible, I'd not worry too much about this. However, some journals and publishers offer certificates for reviewers. See for example this information about reviewer recognition at Elsevier

There may be exceptions to this if you happen to be involved in some very high profile reviewing endeavor, but if you reviewed a normal paper I'd just give the journal's name.

  • 10
    I've seen some people (again in math) also mention the year(s) and/or the number of times they've refereed for a given journal. I personally prefer not to give out such detailed information for multiple reasons (one of these is: you don't need to keep updating your CV). I just say something like "Referee, various journals." – Kimball Mar 3 at 17:09
  • @Kimball Exactly. If they want he specifics, they'll ask for them during the interview. – Mast Mar 4 at 14:31
  • Even listing the journals already seems rare, at least in my field. Only editor positions are usually listed. – Marc Glisse Mar 5 at 7:54
  • @MarcGlisse in mathematics, especially for early career researchers, it's quite common. It's not an important point though. As the career progresses one might drop it or address it in more general terms. It might be that reviewing a paper takes (on average) relatively more time in mathematics than in some other disciplines. – quid Mar 5 at 17:40
10

I would recommend against doing this unless the journal editor or conference chair tells you it is ok. I assume the review was blind or the question wouldn't arise. But blind reviews are intended to remain blind.

But I wonder what your motivation is here. Why not just state in your CV that you have been a reviewer for [journal name] or [conference name year]? Reviewing is intended to be a service to the community, not a way to associate yourself with someone else's work.

My own reaction to seeing a specific claim on a CV would not be favorable, I think.

It may be, in some cases that an author will want to thank the reviewers for helpful comments, but even then, it is very rare that names are used, or even known.

If you want to change the reviewing process, on the other hand, removing the "blind" aspect of it, I'd suggest that you do it directly and openly, not by just doing it. There are venues with open reviews.

But ask the editor.

5

I have recently started using this service called Publons (https://publons.com/about/home/) by Clarivate Analytics. They request that you forward peer-review acknowledgements to a certain email address, and they show up on your personal profile page after verification with sensitive details anonymized. It might help to just link to your profile on your CV or use the list they provide.

  • I have also started using the same. It is a good aggregation platform. Not sure how much they will be recognized in the long run. – DotPi Mar 4 at 8:53
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    +1 to this advice. Publons also has arrangements with some publishers so you just press a button when you submit the review and it appears in your Publons list. In my CV, I simply list the journals I have reviewed for in the last two years or so, but I use Publons to actually do the tracking so I can remember, and it also provides a report that you can use if you need more detail. – JenB Mar 4 at 11:35
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I would leave off reviewing entirely from your CV.

Not used to seeing reviewing on CVs, even by journal.* Let alone specific papers.

Why not accumulate some bigger things to list. Your own papers, being a subeditor, running a conference, etc.? But reviewing papers???

*This doesn't even make sense to me. Does one paper reviewed for a journal make you "their reviewer"? If you are a part of the scientific community, you will just occasionally get requests to review or not. From various journals. Or not. But it's not like a "position".

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    This is really bad advice, especially if you don't know where the OP is applying. Apart that is not uncommon to list reviewer's duties in a CV, being asked to review means that at least someone thinks that you have enough expertise to review a paper. Moreover, maybe it doesn't count much in the overall evaluation of a candidate, but why leaving this small advantage to the competitors? – Massimo Ortolano Mar 3 at 16:17
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    This is actually decent advice once you’re senior enough. – JeffE Mar 4 at 5:58
  • The only reason to omit this information on a CV is if you have some sort of page limit; otherwise, it simply gets relegated to somewhere below all of the shiny achievements you mention. – Richard Mar 5 at 3:32

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