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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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    Related: How to become a journal editor? – Stephan Kolassa Apr 21 '16 at 6:31
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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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  • see my comment at Allure's answer. The practiced necessity you describe which I also experienced to become a submitter/author of a journal article to become a reviewer seems questionable due to many reasons (reproducibility crisis, review period increasing...). Especially when the person has already published/reviewed for other journals, it should be a win-win situation for everybody, not? – user48953094 Dec 30 '19 at 15:38
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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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  • -1 Concluding that someone should therefore not apply although he has published/reviewed in other journals in similar field makes not really sense to me apart from common practice/cultural reasons? He might be a more experienced reviewer than authors of that journal, although so far he didn't publish in it, but is maybe interested due to interdisciplinary reasons to review more for it. What do you win as journal by excluding such applicants? – user48953094 Dec 30 '19 at 15:43
  • I was just reporting how it is, not how I think it should be. Actually, Iearned that some CS conferences do allow that you can apply to be a reviewer. – Dirk Dec 30 '19 at 20:55
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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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  • +1 I don't understand why people vote only the answer they like or even downvote, the contrary argument should always be made in a discussin for dialectic reasons. Maybe it's better to have reviewer that want to review than ones that feel obliged due to career ladder/networking. I could have reviewed much more papers during my PhD and would have liked to, submitted to 3 journals and became reviewer for such. I doubt this is the ideal case that you have to publish in every journal before becoming a reviewer, this is not good for the whole publishing system or big gap of potential reviewer time – user48953094 Dec 30 '19 at 15:29

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