Become a Reviewer

Calling All Reviewers - The AFS Editorial Board

By Jeff Schaeffer [Fisheries 40(3):97]

One of the most valuable contributions that you can make as an AFS member is to serve as a referee for AFS publications. Constructive peer reviews provided by AFS members are the backbone of our publication process, and it is likely the single most important factor in maintaining journal quality and our reputation as a professional society.

That being said, we do not have enough reviewers. This is a growing problem faced by many professional societies, and there are several reasons for this. There has been a proliferation of new journals, and people active in helping with reviews are often besieged by requests. And we all seem to be doing two or more jobs these days, so time is limited. There is also a trend that the people who do take the time to do constructive manuscript reviews tend to develop reputations as go-to reviewers; thus, a small number of people get many review requests and end up carrying that burden for all AFS members.

But the greatest impediment of all is that many AFS members, especially students, believe that they do not have the talent or expertise to review manuscripts. This comes from a mistaken belief that you can only provide constructive reviews if you are a seasoned professional with years of writing experience and a lengthy publication list. While you should have some experience as a fisheries professional (graduate study counts here), becoming a good reviewer is a process, and the best way to become a good reviewer is to start doing reviews.

But why should you do this? Well, it is a very good way to provide a highly valued service to AFS that does not require an onerous time burden, conference calls, or travel to meetings.

You also get first glance at cutting edge science, and we dare to suggest that reviewing manuscripts will help make your own writing and manuscripts better. And when an article appears in print, you will gain immense satisfaction that you helped the author(s) craft a good story that benefits both fisheries science and fisheries resources. And without exception, every journal editor began their editorial career by reviewing manuscripts. You may be one of our future journal editors, and this is the place where it all begins.

How do you start the process? Simply visit mc.manuscriptcentral.com/fisheries and click on the Register here button. You will be asked to fill out a short form with contact information, expertise, and interests. That is all there is to it. The signup page is specific to Fisheries magazine, but your information is linked to all of our journals. You may not start receiving reviewer invitations immediately, but a signup starts the process by getting your name on the list of potential reviewers.