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Academic publishers must respond to reviewer fatigue

09 Jul 2024 by Faye Holst Laura Feetham-Walker, Reviewer Engagement Manager at èƵ

The Institute of Physics Publishing is making innovative efforts to broaden the referee pool beyond the usual suspects, says Laura Feetham-Walker.

Peer review is under pressure. The increase in global scientific output, coupled with ever-increasing demands on academics’ time, has led an increasing number of peer reviewers to feel overburdened.

One obvious way to relieve that pressure is to expand the pool of reviewers. Historically, they have overwhelmingly been senior researchers, based in high-income countries, with a skew towards the male gender. But while it seems logical to ask people with extensive experience of being at the cutting edge of science to judge others’ contributions, such a narrow pool has a limited capacity and a particular perspective. It doesn’t reflect the breadth of potentially novel viewpoints among less represented groups, such as women, people from low- and middle-income countries, and junior reviewers.

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