Sometimes I receive review requests from journals that are not popular among my colleagues. I'm not so sure about the situation of these journals. They are typically Web of Science SCI Q2 journals (e.g., EUR PHYS J PLUS), but for reasons I don't know they are often not our choice. We simply have other more popular Q2 journals.

Should I invest my time in the review work for them? What are the pros and cons?

  • Related / somewhat overlapping academia.stackexchange.com/questions/8959/…
    – Sursula
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 6:48
  • 3
    Does this answer your question? Does the peer review reciprocity principle apply globally or per venue?
    – Sursula
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 7:58
  • @Sursula Thanks for linking to that useful question. It has a focus on the ethics of reciprocity and especially the amount of work expected. I'm here more interested in the real consequences of getting involved or not.
    – xiaohuamao
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 6:35
  • Review papers if your review would be helpful. If you feel it's worth it to just get a point on your CV, then that's fine too (as long as your review can still be helpful). If your review will not be helpful, or not what the editors are asking for from you, then, no, do not agree to review. I've only reviewed for journals that I haven't published in.
    – jdods
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


There's no major difference from the pros and cons of reviewing for other journals

Editors send so many reviewer invitations that they won't bat an eye at yet another reviewer who declines. If you give a highly unusual reason they might remember, and "I will not review for journals that I would not publish in" qualifies as such a reason (since it takes a strong affirmative stance that leaves the question "why won't you publish in this journal?" unanswered). But if you write "I don't have time to review for journals that I don't publish in", that's unremarkable enough that they'd probably not remember after a while.

I suppose if you review for a journal which is lower tier than those that publishes your papers, chances are good the paper is less interesting, but that's about it.

  • 3
    Editors send so many reviewer invitations that they won't bat an eye at yet another reviewer who declines - Not every editor spams like MDPI does.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 16:23
  • 1
    MDPI editors invite ~17 reviewers on average. Non-MDPI reviewers invite ~7? on average. Add that up over all the papers your journal publishes and it's still a lot.
    – Allure
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 23:53

Maybe these journals are going to grow substantially within the next years and become powerhouses in your field? Then you might be happy to have some good contacts with the journal and their editorial board.

Personally, I do not review for journals in which I cannot afford to publish on my own because the APC is too high. I experienced this issue in the past where a big publishing house (looking for frontiers in some field) would not be willing to give me a 15% discount on the APC although I reviewed for them one article per month. What I want to say is that we have to support smaller publishers to have more diversity.

  • 2
    Some OA journals will automatically give you a discount for your next APC after you hand in a review, which may also be applicable at other journals by the same publisher. Commented May 23, 2023 at 10:04

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