1 Becoming a journal reviewer

If you would like to be a reviewer or recommend a colleague as a reviewer, we would love to hear from you (please send your CV by email to the relevant journal email address). Nominations are approved by the Editor, who carefully monitors our pool of reviewers. The Editor will check to make sure you have enough experience in the right subject areas for the journal.

There are no specific qualifications needed to be a reviewer, but most reviewers will have a PhD. You certainly need to be able to prove you know the field of study well enough to be able to assess the novelty, quality, impact and importance of the research.

If you have never been a reviewer before, we strongly recommend you look at a free course on becoming a peer reviewer, offered by our partner Publons.

IOP Publishing (IOP) is committed to recognizing and rewarding peer review. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy as a reviewer:

Please note we do not currently offer financial payment to our reviewers.

IOP journals operate the single-blind review process, in which referees know the identity of the authors but authors do not know the identity of the referees. While all our journals operate the single-blind review process, our ‘Express’ journals (Materials Research Express, Plasma Research Express and Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express) also offer a double-blind peer review option. Authors who choose the double-blind option on submission to these journals remain anonymous to the referees throughout the review process. Authors are responsible for anonymizing their manuscript before submitting their paper. A checklist is available to help authors with this process.

None of our journals conduct any form of open peer review (in which the identity of the reviewer is revealed, the peer review contents are made publicly available or anyone interested in reviewing the article can do so post-publication).

As a reviewer for IOP journals, you will be expected to complete your review within 7–28 days, depending on the journal and type of article you are reviewing. When this is not possible, we will consider requests for extensions where appropriate. You will be expected to comment on multiple aspects of the paper, most commonly scientific rigour, novelty, quality, impact and importance. More information on how to complete a review is given in the next section.

We understand you are busy and we try not to send anyone too many tasks. You can always decline any request you are sent. If you are a Board Member or on an Advisory Panel for one of our journals you may receive requests more frequently.

Research papers submitted for publication in IOP journals are most commonly sent to two independent referees. Referees are selected from our reviewer database and we try to find the best combination of scientific expertise and referee experience for each paper. It’s really important for reviewers to keep their research interests up to date on ScholarOne, so we only send them papers that are in the right subject areas.

Authors are welcome to suggest referees for their paper if they wish but this is not required. In the interests of impartiality, if an author-suggested reviewer is used then we will complement this with a review from a second referee chosen by the journal from the general referee pool.

How to update your Scholar One account

Our guidelines are applicable to the journals listed below. For guidelines specific to other partner journals, including the American Astronomical Society titles, please consult those journals’ respective homepages. Journal homepages can be accessed from here.

We manage all our submissions and peer review through a web-based system called ScholarOne. It is really easy to set up your account and keep it up to date. Watch this video to find out how.

How to create an account on ScholarOne