Becoming a journal reviewer

Read the information below carefully on becoming a journal reviewer for IOP publishing.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering to be a journal reviewer for IOP Publishing journals. Once registered you will be considered as a reviewer for manuscripts that are within your research area.

Find out more about the benefits of reviewing for IOP journals . There is also a Chinese language version of this information.

Volunteer to be a journal reviewer


All reviewers are carefully chosen by our editorial team who balance experience levels, research interests, publication history and volunteer status amongst other factors. Volunteers are flagged within our system but we cannot guarantee that you will be selected as a reviewer for one of our journals. Read our reviewer guidelines here.

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 take our free, state-of-the-art course on how to write an excellent review, which can be found here: (registration required).

Click here for  Chinese language version of this page.

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

Benefits through Publons

Through our partnership with Publons, you can access the following benefits.

  • Receive notifications when the paper you have reviewed is published (even if in a different journal)
  • Automatically sync your peer review activity in Publons with your ORCID activity
  • Share or request credit for any co-review activity
  • Export your reviewing history as a Publons CV.

Please ensure you opt in for Publons recognition during the review process or claim your review after completion.

We are moving all of our owned journals to double-anonymous peer review by the end of 2021, making us the first physics publisher to adopt the approach portfolio-wide. You can read more about these changes here.

Our current peer review models on our journals are as follows:

Double-anonymous peer review

The following journals operate a double-anonymous peer review model, in which authors remain anonymous to the reviewers throughout the review process.

New Journal of Physics gives authors the opportunity to choose whether their paper goes through double-anonymous or single-anonymous peer review.

Authors are responsible for anonymising their manuscript before submitting their paper. A checklist is available to help authors with this process and is also available in Chinese.

Is double-anonymous peer review compatible with the sharing of preprints?
IOP supports the early sharing of research results via preprint servers such as arXiv and other early sharing platforms. This does mean that author identities may be easier to find online if reviewers try to find them. We ask our reviewers to undertake an objective review of an article and when agreeing to a double-anonymous review we trust that they will not go out of their way to undermine author anonymity.

Single-anonymous peer review

All other IOPP journals operate the single-anonymous review process, in which reviewers know the identity of the authors but authors do not know the identity of the reviewers.

Transparent peer review

Environmental Research Communications, Environmental Research: Climate, Environmental Research: Ecology, Environmental Research: Health, Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability, Environmental Research Letters, IOP SciNotes, JPhys Complexity, JPhys Energy, JPhys Materials, JPhys Photonics, Journal of Neural Engineering, Journal of Physics Communications, Materials for Quantum Technology, Materials Research Express, Nano Express and Neuromorphic Computing and Engineering now offer authors and reviewers the option of transparent peer review. This enables the publication, alongside a published article, of that article’s entire peer review content (reviewer reports, author responses and decision letters) in an easily discoverable and citable form. We hope that this greater transparency will improve the quality of the review process, give more recognition to the work of reviewers and help with the teaching of best practice in peer review.

Both authors and reviewers have the option of opting out of transparent peer review should they wish to do so (and reviewers who do opt in may choose to remain anonymous): the peer review history will only appear for articles where the author and (all) reviewers opt in. The peer review history is available only for articles displaying a blue Publons “P” badge at the top of the article (next to the title) with a number in a red circle, indicating the number reviewer reports, which can be viewed by clicking on the badge. All peer review content displayed will be covered by a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 license. IOP Publishing retains the right to make minor edits to reports to improve readability and ensure they are suitable for publication, and in exceptional circumstances to withdraw reports.

Some example articles published with transparent peer review content are available here:

Post publication review

While we do not have any functionality on our site for post-publication review, we welcome comments on published work. This could be via social media (many of our journals have their own Twitter accounts, for example), or via an external website such as PubPeer. Some of our journals publish comments on previously published work. Check your journal instructions for more information.

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 reviewers. Reviewers are selected from our reviewer database and we try to find the best combination of scientific expertise and reviewing 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 reviewers for their paper if they wish but this is not required, and we are not obliged to use author suggested reviewers. 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 reviwer 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.

ScholarOne now supports login and account creation via your ORCID iD. See our help guide for further details.

How to create an account on ScholarOne

If you are planning on being unavailable for a period of time, please enter the dates into the ‘Unavailable Dates’ section OF the ‘User ID / Password & Other Information’ area of your ScholarOne account. This will help ensure we do not send you requests to review an article while you are unavailable.