I read many articles about specific area and I feel like I can write a review article. So, is that ok if I only have a Master degree? can some journals accept that? (I will be the sole author)


2 Answers 2


So, is that ok if I only have a Master degree?


can some journals accept that?

Yes, but...

... the journals that would accept it might not be exactly the reputable ones. Reason: an MSc student is typically not educated enough to be able to write a good review paper unless there are other outweighing circumstances, for example vast industrial experience, a senior supervisor closely looking at the paper, etc.

Keep in mind that some journals ask for a cover letter in which you may have to justify why the main editor should bother caring about the paper at all rather than moving it into the (electronic) trash bin.

Still, if you have several weeks of time for writing, why not trying and sending it to a small, initial-stage journal? You might be disappointed by the reviews you get, but it would be an experience for you. Please keep in mind that you might get requests from the editor(s) of that journal to review other papers.

  • Does really journal editors care about the degree of the author? I thought, since he is affiliated with a university, it does not matter. As far as I know, the professor is the first responsible of the manuscript, so if he finds that the content is poor, he wouldn't even think to submit it. Please correct me if I am wrong
    – Yacine
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 8:55
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    @John What professor? There is no professor involved in this. The editor might not care about the degree for research papers, since there it is all about correctness and impact. But for review papers it becomes paramount that the writer has a broad view of the field for it to be worth anything, and this is a lot harder to evaluate based on only the paper itself. Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 9:20
  • @TobiasKildetoft From the legal point of view, no affiliated researcher (at least as I know in Europe) is allowed to submit a paper without a full acceptance from the head of his laboratory. Therefore, I said that the journal does not care about the degree of the first author since it is almost sure that the manuscript is priorly evaluated by his supervisor, and it can pass through the peer-review process.
    – Yacine
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 9:27
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    @John An MSc student may do it in his/her free time. In this case, the institution name is empty, and no consent of the boss is needed.
    – Leon Meier
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 9:35
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    @John There is definitely nothing that requires the approval from the head of the lab from a legal point of view. There may be contractual obligations, but these are definitely not universal across universities and fields. Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 9:52

This discussion might be useful. (The link should also appear to your right in the section 'Related'.)

Apparently, there are different opinions regarding who should be eligible for writing reviews probably varying between fields.

To provide my own experience: I am a PhD student in a department where it is very common that PhD students ('only' having an MSc degree) write review articles with input from supervisors.

In my opinion, a review that discusses different techniques is mostly dependent on the author's analytical skill. A new researcher might be very skilled and thus be able to write such a review. However, one would expect that this skill also increases with time spent in that field. So, it doesn't hurt to have an experienced co-author but it is not necessary (in my opinion). If the intention is to draw 'general' conclusions (e.g., the importance of the reviewed work on the field as a whole, outlooks into the future), analytical skill is probably less relevant than experience. This section of a review is probably better written in close collaboration with a senior researcher.

Overall, as also suggested in the comments, it is advisable to get a senior researcher on board.

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    I'd be skeptical if a phd student as the sole author can write a good review article. It's possible but I'd advise to get some more experienced coauthors.
    – user9482
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 5:43
  • I agree, significant input from a senior researcher should yield higher a quality review. I adjusted my answer to reflect this. Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 6:07

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