Early Career Reviewer Database
What is the Early Career Reviewer Database?
One day, talking with one of my graduate students, we both expressed frustration that our manuscript was taking a really long time to get through the review process. The hold up seemed to be that the editor was having trouble finding reviewers. Yet, my student said, he was almost never asked to review anything - despite the fact that he was clearly a "peer," having published several papers already. I shared that when I had been an editor, it was in fact challenging to find reviewers sometimes - but that on the occasions when I asked a postdoc or senior grad student, I found their reviews were usually very thorough, detailed, constructive, and polite. I tweeted about this and many others echoed this frustration from both sides. It is often difficult to find early career scientists and know their areas of expertise. Stephen Heard shared his blog post that he had written about this issue as well.
So, I decided to take some action. Inspired by the huge success of the wonderful Diversify EEB project, I set up a form where early career scientists in the fields of ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics, can sign on and show their willingness to be part of the peer review process in our field. The only requirement is that to sign up, you must have published at least one paper already - i.e. you are in fact a peer.
I appreciate the very real concerns that sharing information in this day and age can be a bit scary. We all hate spam emails and getting invited to write papers and present talks via predatory sites. So, I do not have any plan to make this information generally available to the public.
That said, if you are an editor or a program officer or someone else who uses the peer review process in ecology and evolution, then submit a request and, if approved, I will share the link to the Database. Feel free to share it with your editorial colleagues or associate editors.
Abuses to this project will be meet with some really horrible karma coming back to you. Trust me.
Let's see what happens and thank you for your interest! Maybe other fields will pick up on this idea!
Susan Perkins, Curator & Professor, AMNH