How do you credit people for reviewing a manuscript prior to submission? I am referring to individuals with more knowledge and experience than myself, such as a professor. Where in the manuscript do you list their names? Is this good practice or frowned upon?

I was thinking maybe under the title such as:

Prediction of new active COVID-19 cases using regression analysis

Authors: ..., ...

Peer-reviewed by: person1, person2, ...

Also, I was wondering if "peer" review has to be from people of the same age as you. In case of them being older than you, do you just call it a review and not a peer review?

  • 4
    I think you should change "review" to "proof-read" or "give first feedback". Review is a coined term and means the (in most cases not known) reviewer named by the editor of a journal or conference.
    – usr1234567
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 11:07
  • 3
    @usr1234567 I use terms such as "Thank you J. Doe for feedback on on previous version of this manuscript." in the acknowledgments. I would not use "proof-read" because that implies the helper missed something. I would not use "give first feedback" because it reads strangely to me. Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 17:13
  • @RichardErickson Sure. I was talking about the question and especially the title.
    – usr1234567
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 18:54
  • You can thank the anonymous referees if they were helpful. In that case, there is no need to ask them for permission as they are anonymous anyway.
    – Tom
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 19:40
  • 7
    – smci
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 19:48

3 Answers 3


Meaning of peer review

When people say "peer review" in regards to a scholarly work, they are implying they refer to the "scholarly peer review process", not to some generic review by peers in the general sense of the meaning of the individual words "peer" and "review".

This process refers to review by your scholarly peers, not related to any age group, conducted though journals/publishers who assign reviewers to assess the paper and make editorial decisions about whether to publish the paper or not based on their recommendations.

Looking over your manuscript before submission is not "peer review" in the academic sense. You don't want to say that your paper went through "peer review" just because you had some peers (or even people who are you senior) look it over.

Acknowledging help on a paper

It may be appropriate to thank people who have helped improve the manuscript but haven't contributed enough to qualify for authorship; this section in papers is called the "acknowledgements" section. It can include statements like:

The authors thank J.A. Professor for helpful comments on a draft of the manuscript.

Sometimes authors will also thank people from the peer review process anonymously if suggestions raised in peer review are particularly important for the final paper, but it's not necessary or typical to thank reviewers in general.

It's polite to ask permission to acknowledge someone by name before actually mentioning someone in the paper (they may feel uncomfortable with it and ask to not be named if they either don't support the work or feel they didn't do enough to warrant it), and it's certainly not good to try to add acknowledgements because you think it will somehow help your paper get accepted (nor because you think it will make your non-published preprint appear to have been somehow validated and judged as correct by experts), only when people genuinely deserve the credit.

  • 12
    Perhaps to clarify for "beginners" in this business: even if your paper has been reviewed by some of your peers, who've given you advice, etc., it is not "peer-reviewed" in the charged sense of having been approved by referees at a journal. Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 23:49
  • @paulgarrett That's frankly debatable. Some people claim that “scholarly peer review” must always be synonymous with “journal guided refereeing prior to publication”. These people are wrong (and this is a fairly recent phenomenon). Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 19:53
  • 2
    @KonradRudolph, oh, I agree that the words have been corrupted, etc. But/and people need to be aware of these corruptions, to avoid being accused of deception, etc. Yes, for me, if it's on the internet, it's published. It literally is. :) But we know that status-gatekeepers don't agree. :) Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 20:04

Actually, it is unlikely that you will learn the names of reviewers for a journal if those are the people you mean. So, in most cases this would be impossible.

Moreover, the version you submit is almost certainly not the version that will be published. There will be opportunities to update lots of things, including acknowledgements and such.

Finally, you can include a footnote or brief passage in Acknowledgements thanking "the reviewers" (not by name) for their suggestions (which there will almost certainly be.

Note that reviewers do much more than just make a yes/no decision about the paper. They might call for extensive revisions and suggest how that might be done.

But if, prior to submission, you ask people you know to review your paper and give you suggestions for improvement, then you can name them in an acknowledgements section and thank them for their help. Advisors usually get listed in this way, for example, unless they are co-authors.

And if you are going to name someone and thereby associate them in some way with the work, you need their permission to use their names.

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    We used to thank 'anonymous' reviewers, I also would thank professors and colleagues. Yes there is an important difference between the peer-review process (of the journal) as compared to a more 'informal' reading by a colleague. Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 15:50

You usually add the acknowledgements after acceptance. Then you can add a section like


We like to thank the anonymous reviewers and our helpful colleagues for proof reading and John Smith for providing us with the example data.

Especially the name can only be added after a blind review.

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