I was planning to use mdpi.com to submit a paper to "Entropy" journal. The journal perfectly matches the area that my paper covers. However, they require a cover letter to five reviewers selected by myself:


Coverletter: Check in your cover letter whether you supplied at least 5 referees. Check if the English corrections are done before submission.

Is this the standard procedure? Can you propose other similar journal? I am getting afraid that receiving feedback is not an easy task, and I can wander with the paper for a year or so.

  • For the sake of generality, it could be better to reformulate your question to "Selecting journal reviewers through cover letter", since a similar question could arise for other journals.
    – user102
    Feb 26, 2012 at 12:52
  • I agree. It is done.
    – Mooncer
    Feb 26, 2012 at 15:20
  • 3
    I would advise suggesting reviewers, or offering to do so, even when you are not required to. I've been in situations where the editor left my manuscript aside for a few months, only to ask me for suggestions when I contacted him or her wondering about the state of my paper. Feb 27, 2012 at 18:19

3 Answers 3


They don't require you to send a cover letter to five referees, but just to indicate in your cover letter the names and contact info of 5 potential reviewers. It's just to help them finding reviewers for your paper (as they say, they might not use those you provided). But I don't think you need to contact the reviewers first.

As far as I know, it's a pretty common procedure, I've seen it for several other journals.

  • 1
    yes, this is fairly common Feb 26, 2012 at 2:53

I wouldn't say that a journal asking for reviewers is "standard" practice, but it is by no means rare. For instance, nearly all ACS journals require that the paper submitter provide the names of between three and six potential referees. Other journals that I've submitted to, including J. Chem. Phys. and the Physical Review series do not require referee lists of any kind.

It should be noted that the choice of referees is entirely discretionary on the part of the editor. The editor is free to pick from any or all of the names on your list—or none of them, if it's an area the editor knows well enough to assign referees independently.

  • Typically journals with broader scope, or those for interdisciplinary subjects, will be more likely to ask for referee suggestions. In all likelihood this will speed up the refereeing process, as otherwise the editors may send your manuscript out to whom they thought to be good fit to review your paper, only to get a letter back 3 weeks later saying that your paper is outside of his or her expertise. For field specific journals this is much less of a worry. Feb 28, 2012 at 10:12

I've encountered this before - as aeismail has said, it might not be "standard" practice (implying most journals do it) but its certainly at the very least common.

This is often intended to provide focus and speed for journal editors to get papers out. Finding appropriate reviewers is a long and tedious task, and if editor's come to rely too much on "their" expert reviewers, they're likely to burn them out. The approach of recommending peer-reviewers gives you, the author - and presumably an expert in your field - an opportunity to weight in on who is qualified to review your paper, while avoiding people who would have to abstain due to a conflict of interest, or who you feel might not judge your paper fairly.

Essentially, you should be considering people in your specific field who aren't your direct collaborators, but who might be disposed to look on you and your work in a positive or at least neutral light - avoiding people who don't like you, or who think "Paper Topic is a waste of time and research dollars, and should never be published".

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