I am about to submit my research article in a Mathematics journal and the online system is asking to mention three Referee/Reviewer names.

Should I take the consent of a few experts in my topic before I enlist three expert names as referees, by individually mailing them?

I think, I should take.

Any suggestions and advice regarding the question, please?

  • 6
    Any reason for downvote. At least leave some comment please so that I can correct the question
    – learner
    Mar 21, 2021 at 9:04
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    It's not just unnecessary to ask them, it's inappropriate - it would be a violation of the blind review process. Journals ask for referee suggestions to make life easier for the associate editors to find referees. They figure you might know the people in your sub-field better than they do. There's an ethical obligation on you to suggest people you think will give your paper a good and fair review, not your close friends/collaborators (that would also be inappropriate). Mar 21, 2021 at 17:55
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    @StuartGolodetz, It is inappropriate, I agree. But how is it violation ? Even if I take consent of experts and list them in referee list, it doesn't mean Editor will choose them just like Editor may not choose the list of referee which I put randomly without taking consent from experts. The outcome of both way is same.
    – learner
    Mar 21, 2021 at 18:20
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    Possible duplicate of: Before proposing reviewers, should I notify them?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 22, 2021 at 7:57
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    I have submitted to Elsevier journals many times (though not J Alg) and never suggested referees. You can skip this unless it explicitly says this is mandatory. What is sometimes required (and sometimes optional, and sometimes not even asked for) is recommending an editor to handle your submission.
    – Kimball
    Mar 22, 2021 at 10:43

4 Answers 4


No. You do not need consent from them. There is no convention to do that.

Usually, the whole peer review process is an anonymous one, with the selection of reviewers occuring at the editors' full discretion. The editors have various channels to find suitable reviewers, and they usually do not tell the reviewers (nor the authors) how they came across them.


As an author, you should never ask someone's permission before suggesting them as a reviewer. This prevents a situation where a reviewer thinks you are offering a bribe. While this is unlikely, you should not leave any room for confusion.

There might be rare exceptions where you are required to ask for permission; I encountered this once and it was a waste of time.

  • 4
    The advice is correct, but I don't see how it could be seen as a bribe. Can you explain why?
    – Buffy
    Mar 21, 2021 at 15:17
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    @Buffy The reviewer recommends acceptance of your paper, then asks you to review (and expects you to recommend) his/her paper in return. In some cultures, nobody does anything "for free" - you always expect to get something in return.
    – alephzero
    Mar 21, 2021 at 22:44
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    @Buffy I didn't say it could be seen as a bribe, because it is not. I said it could be mistaken for an offer of a bribe. Any direct author/reviewer interaction could lead to this mistake. Mar 21, 2021 at 22:59

It's not necessary. Firstly the editor might not use your suggested referees; secondly, if they do invite them then they will be writing to them themselves, so you writing to them first does nothing. After all, if they agree to referee your paper in response to your email, they would still have to agree to referee your paper when the editor invites them.


As others wrote, you don't have an obligation to ask the potential referees for permission to suggest them to the journal. However, I don't think asking for permission is problematic. I asked some people for permission. Some of them agreed, some of them refused, saying my work is beyond their area of expertise or interest or that they did not agree with my work. I just don't see any problem with that. For example, I don't think referees' permission prevents them from refusing to referee the article if the editor asks them to.


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