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I'm a grad student, and over the weekend, received two review requests from very good journals in my field, one of which I have already reviewed for.

I declined one because it was out of my area, but it made me wonder if, all else being equal I should prioritize reviewing for a journal I haven't yet, or if it doesn't matter.

I have often seen CVs in my field list journals reviewed for, as well as a number of reviews, so it is information that is out there and valued

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  • It would seem to me to be a very minor issue. The quality of your record will be based on other things.
    – Buffy
    Apr 21 '20 at 14:56
  • @Buffy Well, what about from a learning to peer review standpoint? Apr 21 '20 at 15:01
  • From a learning to peer review standpoint, both seem useless if you don't get any feedback on how well you did. Apr 21 '20 at 16:54
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    You should prioritize reviewing for the editor you want to impress. Apr 21 '20 at 22:02
  • @AlexanderWoo You should make that an answer Apr 22 '20 at 14:47
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  • Multiple reviews for a journal indicates that you are a trustworthy reviewer.

  • Reviews for various journals indicates that you are known across your discipline.

Thus, both seem to be positive signals (for different traits). No need to prioritize one aspect over the other.

(By the way, you can have such peer review activities verified at Publons, which may be better than just listing them on your CV.)

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I am assuming you are not in a field with professional editors - that editors of journals are generally professors.

In this situation, journals aren't really entities that you have reputations with. You have reputations with the editors of the journals. These are the people who could have an impact on your career.

Good editors remember who writes timely and useful reviews for them - they have to in order to continue to pick good reviewers. It's natural that their impressions of their reviewers carry over when they need to make decisions on whom to choose for other purposes.

So, assuming you are going to be a good reviewer, prioritize reviewing for the editors you want to impress.

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There is no downside in accepting to review an article from any reputable journal: a good review can only improve the quality of the submission and of the journal.

It is equally essential to decline if one is not comfortable with the manuscript, or one does not have the time to do an adequate job at the review, precisely because a bad review for any reason and for any journal may allow marginal or poor manuscripts to be published.

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  • This doesn't answer the question. Maybe the missing part is "Assuming I only have time to do one good review." Apr 23 '20 at 14:46

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