Your Editorial 'Mentors of tomorrow' (Nature 447, 754; 2007) highlights a need to encourage ethical, honest and fair peer review by young scientists. Although I applaud the ethos of the argument presented, graduate students such as myself often suffer from anonymity in their field of research, even though our work is often at the cutting edge. A lack of publications can render a student invisible to editors and may result in missed opportunities to offer their services as referees.
I suggest that journals consider introducing a 'PhD student peer-review pool' to which students and their supervisors can sign up. Such a database, including a student's name, area of research expertise and current supervisors, would provide editors with a ready supply of willing referees. Editors could try new referees in the knowledge that they will be supported during the review process by their supervisor, and could provide feedback to the student about the quality of the report.
Refereeing has often been described as a thankless task, but although it does require considerable effort, it also provides invaluable experience in critical interpretation of science. Having recently completed my first review, I believe that it has made me far more objective about my own writing and can only benefit the production of my thesis. I therefore look forward to receiving my next invitation to review.
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Pernetta, A. Mentors could support a student reviewer database. Nature 448, 129 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/448129c