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A few days ago I received an email from the journal Computational and Applied Mathematics

Please be informed you have been registered by our editorial team as a user on the Editorial Manager site for Computational and Applied Mathematics. Information about Computational and Applied Mathematics can be found on the journal website, or by selecting Journal Overview from the top navigation bar at https://www.editorialmanager.com/coam/.

Editorial Manager is the manuscript submission and peer-review tracking system through which individuals are invited to review, to write articles for the journal, or to process submissions.

And this was followed by another email where they requested me to review a paper of someone I personally know!

Now, I've a PhD in math but I've been outside academia for a while now (but actively trying to get back to mainstream research, while having a teaching position at an engineering college), so I've nothing against reviewing the paper - indeed it falls within my area of expertise. But I still found the whole thing a bit strange - I mean my registration in the editorial team without any prior discussion and then requesting me to review a paper. Also the work email they sent it to has never really been used much, so I wonder how they accessed that in the first place. It certainly doesn't look scammy, the paper is legit, and it came from this email: em@editorialmanager.com, which also seems legit.

Any thoughts on this? Once again, I'd be happy to review the paper, but the whole thing just strikes me as strange.

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    Did a friend/colleague recommend you to them? Have you recently publish with them?
    – Buffy
    Apr 23 at 12:48
  • @Buffy I know one of the authors in the paper but he never told me that he recommended me: maybe he did. I never published in this journal, but I know this journal. Apr 23 at 13:28
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    Some journals ask authors to recommend reviewers. That might be why you got the "invitation". It compromises blind reviewing a bit. Journals are always looking to expand their reviewer stable.
    – Buffy
    Apr 23 at 13:31
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    @ScienceMan Usually, an author who suggests reviewers doesn’t warn them of the fact.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Apr 23 at 13:56
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    It's also possible that the editor found your name in a published paper; don't assume it was one of the authors suggesting your name. Apr 23 at 14:04

4 Answers 4

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You (almost certainly) haven't been added as a member of the editorial team. You have simply been added to their database as a potential reviewer - an email like this is sent automatically when this happens. "Editorial Manager" is the name of the software product used by the journal.

An editor has decided that you would be a good reviewer for a paper (possibly on the recommendation of someone else). They have found you are not registered in the journal database, and so they have created a minimal record for you. Once this is done, they can link you to the paper as a potential reviewer and generate the invitation you have received.

So, nothing to worry about here - feel free to accept or reject the review invitation as you see fit.

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    They have found you are not registered in the journal database, and so they have created a minimal record for you - Yes, and sometimes they will even do this if you do have an account, but with a different e-mail. The number of accounts with editorialmanager I got this way is insane.
    – user53923
    Apr 25 at 12:31
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I want to echo what avid said but also emphasize that, in my experience in a different academic area, this is very normal. I would estimate I get an email like this one preceding a review request in 1/3 of review requests from journals I haven't reviewed for in the past (and sometimes I get them from journals I've reviewed for because they somehow fail to connect my identity to the existing account).

I suspect many of the decisionmakers are not expert in the software they are using and may not realize the way these messages appear to their prospective reviewers. On the other hand, they may just not care because many are habituated to such messages. You can find examples [2] of academics joking about this very thing: the ambiguous account creation email that precedes a quasi-obligation. (Of course, not everyone feels negatively about reviewing...it probably depends on how often you are asked to do it.)

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As far as I understand, you have not been registered as an editor:

[...] you have been registered by our editorial team as a user on the Editorial Manager site [...]

They wanted to send a paper to you with a review request and had to have you as a "user" in their system to be able to do so. And following this user registration, they sent an automated e-mail to let you know. It would be worse if they did this secretly, would it not?

It can be assumed that your contact data were provided by one of the authors of the paper. It is customary to suggest suitable reviewers to the editor during the submission process. If you do not want the journal to keep this information about you in their system, let them know and they probably will delete the record.


As I do not know the journal, I will leave it to you to assess if it is a reputable journal.

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    It would be worse if they did this secretly, would it not? No, it wouldn't, in my opinion. :) OP got the review request e-mail, and that's all they need. The other e-mail just add a possible source of confusion, in my view. Apr 23 at 14:07
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    @FedericoPoloni If somebody creates an account in my name, I'd want to know. Sure, the email might have been worded better, but it's still a good thing. Apr 24 at 0:57
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    @HiddenWindshield Back when I used Editorial Manager for this kind of thing, I actually registered reviewers without emailing them, because all the details are in the other reviewer invitation email already and I'd rather not spam the reviewer.
    – Allure
    Apr 25 at 7:39
  • Also if the editor enters the email address of a person they want to ask for a review, the account info gets sent to this person (unless the editor does it "silently" like @Allure), so it should not be taken as a sign that this reviewer was suggested by the authors.
    – silvado
    Apr 25 at 9:00
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Nobody seems to point to the automation logic behind this procedure.

Suppose that you were not registered as a potential reviewer in the system. The editor sends you an invitation to review. Say you accept. Then the editor, assuming that they keep good track of their e-mail correspondence, should go into the system and insert manually the fact that you are now a reviewer for the specific paper. Then they should send you some password to gain access to the submission. Etc

By registering you in their database, they can then send you an e-mail with an acceptance link, which if you hit, you are automatically linked to the paper and have access to the submission.

There is a net gain (reduction) in time spent, mistakes made, correspondence overlooked.

In the future, if another editor searches for you for some other paper, they will find you in the database, along side a track record of you, which is again automatically created: yours truly has been sent 10 invitations and refused all of them. Or yours truly B has accepted all 3 invitations and submitted the review on time. And so forth.

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