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Can anybody post a template letter on how to ask a science journal to serve as a reviewer. Here's what I have.. I would like to serve as a peer reviewer for manuscripts submitted to your esteemed journal, XXX. My areas of expertise are XYZ. I have published n articles in this field and have reviewed manuscripts pertaining to these subjects before. My CV is enclosed for your perusal

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    Usually journals contact potential reviewers and not the other way around. However, if you want to review for a journal, I would send a short email (rather than a formal letter) to the editor and volunteer to server as a reviewer. – Richard Erickson Apr 20 '16 at 18:24
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    Some other points. 1) indicate why you want to volunteer. Unless you have a good why, the editor will probably ignore your offer to volunteer. (e.g., I am graduate student studying this topic and want to volunteer and help the society (if it is a society journal)). 2) the wording "esteemed journal" is comes off as patronizing and would likely cause an editor to ignore your email. 3) If you need to list your credentials, you're probably targeting the wrong journal. I would volunteer to review for journals that I'm member of the society or that I publish in. – Richard Erickson Apr 20 '16 at 18:31
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The best way I've discovered to become a reviewer for a journal is to submit a paper there. In my experience this is almost always followed a few days later by a request to review a relevant article.

Edited to add: I did my first reviews while a graduate student because my PhD supervisor was the editor of a journal. He would send me things occasionally because he considered it part of my training. So, another way to become a reviewer is to know an editor.

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I am not an editor of any journal, but I don't think that such a self nomination would be welcome.

You do not become a reviewer because you want to become one, but because some editor thinks that you can provide a valuable review.

So, to become a reviewer you have to prove yourself to know your field well, have a good overview of the field, know its history and challenging problems, know the details... You can achieve this by submitting/publishing papers and probably also by giving good talks at conferences and workshops but not by application.

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I've seen several such emails before and I personally don't see why not accept - it's not hard to register reviewers into the editorial management system, and reviewers only offer recommendations anyway. The editor can always invite a couple of other "regular" reviewers as well, and if the new reviewer writes a good review, upgrade him to a regular reviewer. If the review is poor, one does not have to forward it to the authors.

If you do send such an email to the publisher, you'll want to provide:

  • Your areas of expertise. Try to match these to the keywords the journal uses (e.g. when you submit to the journal, do they ask you to identify which subspecialty your manuscript is in, and if so what are those subspecialties?)
  • Some example publications
  • A few details about yourself, such as what your job title is, your institution, your qualifications, your website (if you have one)

Don't expect to be invited to review immediately. In fact there's a chance that you never receive anything because the publisher will only register you, and the editors need to be searching the database to see you.

You can also write to the editors. Pick the members of the editorial board whose interests most closely match yours. This makes them aware that they can invite you; however the failure rate will be higher, and there's a good chance they don't act on your email.

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