Commons Lounge Discussion

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  • 1.  Manuscript reviews in the time of COVID-19

    Posted 03-26-2020 18:04
    Hello all,

    How are you handling manuscript review requests during this time period of uncertainty around COVID-19?

    In the past, my policy has been to make sure I do at least as many reviews as I anticipate receiving in a given year for manuscripts that my students and I submit. Beyond that, I try to say yes to any manuscript that I feel like I could appropriately review and to any journal for which I serve as a Consulting Editor as long as my review queue is reasonably manageable.

    But now? I am sheltering at home with my family, which includes two young children, while also trying to get my courses online and do other work and support elderly relatives elsewhere etc etc.

    I received three review requests today and need to figure out how to approach these and other review requests in moving forward.

    I know that many, many researchers are juggling a lot right now. How do you think we should all approach this issue of figuring out how much reviewing to do?

    Thank you,

    Candice Mills
    The University of Texas at Dallas
    Twitter: @CandiceMMills

  • 2.  RE: Manuscript reviews in the time of COVID-19

    Posted 03-27-2020 08:26
    Hi Candice,

    Thanks for asking this question.  As a journal editor, I know things are challenging, and I completely understand when reviewers need to say no.  I suggest that you to decide what you can do and be honest about what you cannot do.  Accepting a review invitation thinking you can get to it and then cannot is worse than saying no up front.  When you decline a review invitation, it is very helpful if you recommend alternative reviewers.  You may have a better idea about who is qualified to serve as a reviewer than the editor, and you can serve as an important resource.  I am always eager to learn of new (often but not always) junior scholars who should be on my radar.  Before I became editor, I was on two editorial boards.  I always said yes to the requests from those journals (as long as I didn't already have one in the queue from the journal), and I turned down ad hoc requests if I already had a paper "on deck".  It worked out to about 12 papers per year.  I might add that I teach at a small liberal arts college with a high teaching load; one per month was really all that I could handle.

    Martha Arterberry (Editor-in-Chief Infant Behavior and Development [IBAD]; former editorial board member of IBAD and Developmental Psychology)

    Martha Arterberry
    Colby College
    Waterville ME

  • 3.  RE: Manuscript reviews in the time of COVID-19

    Posted 03-27-2020 11:50
    This is a great question. As the current editor of Teaching of Psychology, working from home, and three kids under 13 at home, I am really struggling with this. My stance is that I try to be as flexible as possible. Meaning, flexible on the author's timeline of getting revisions back, reviews, back, Associate Editors decision letters, etc. Also, from the editor position, I am trying not to ask people (unless a revise and resubmit review) who have recently reviewed. As Martha suggested, I would say only review manuscripts that you feel most qualified to review and/or if you have current submissions with the journal. I hope this helps. 


    Aaron Richmond
    Metropolitan State University of Denver
    Denver CO