Scientific journals depend on scientists willing to provide anonymous reviews of papers submitted for publication. Scientists are not paid for writing reviews, but do this as a service to their profession and to gain access to the most recent research. So, who is reviewing papers?
In a recent study, we examined 11,840 invitations to review articles sent to 6,555 different reviewers for the journal Biological Conservation. Among the most interesting findings were:
1. Most of the reviewers were from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and less than 1% of the reviewers came from populous countries like India and China.
(Figure 1 from Primack et al.)
2. Editors sent out an average of 6.7 invitations per paper.
3. Reviewers accepted 37% of our invitations.
4. 90% reviewers completed their review following accepting an invitation.
5. Most reviews were submitted on time.
6. Reviewers who were fast with one review tended to be fast with another.
Our major recommendation from this study is that Editors for Biological Conservation, and probably also for other journals, should invite more reviewers from under-represented countries. We are grateful to Biological Conservation reviewers for the high rates at which they accept and complete reviews, and for completing reviews in a timely manner!
You can find the full article from Biological Conservation HERE.