Engage more early-career scientists as peer reviewers

Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany. On behalf of 12 co-signatories (see Supplementary Information for full list).

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As members of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), we participated in a group review of the upcoming report on the ocean and cryosphere from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Our analysis compared well with reviews by more senior scientists (see also L. van der Veer et al. Clim. Change 125, 137–148; 2014). Early-career scientists are an untapped source of peer reviewers who, in our view, could be deployed as successfully on journal manuscripts as on large reports.

We encourage other early-career scientists to engage in individual and group reviews, such as those organized by APECS, including the second review of the IPCC ocean and cryosphere report taking place later this year.

Expanding the reviewer pool in this way would benefit the scientific community by mitigating the review burden (see, for example, M. Kovanis et al. PLoS ONE 11, e0166387; 2016). There would be career advantages for junior researchers who were accomplished reviewers. And they would gain insight into improving the preparation and presentation of their own papers.

Comprehensive reports such as those compiled by the IPCC provide a means for the scientific community to reach the public. Such engagement is becoming increasingly important, so early-career researchers must learn to contribute to it effectively.

Nature 560, 307 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05956-7

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Supplementary Information

  1. Supplementary list of co-signatories