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Peer review mentoring

The Editors endorse peer review mentoring within Trials. If you are a senior researcher or professor and supervise an early career researcher with the appropriate expertise, we invite you to co-write and mentor them through the peer review process.

How to express your interest

If you wish to mentor someone through the peer review process, you will need to inform the Editorial Office when you are invited to review a manuscript for the journal.

To do this, decline the invitation to review and within the box asking for a reason for declining, state that you would like to mentor someone through the process and request that the mentee is invited in your place (include name and email address of mentee). The mentor must inform the mentee that they may receive a reviewer invitation in due course and that they should accept the invitation. You must transparently co-sign the reviewer report with reviewer contributions and full conflicts of interest statements for both the mentor and mentee. Full details on what constitutes as a competing interest can be found via our editorial policies page. By initiating the peer review mentoring process both mentor and mentee agree to the journal’s open peer review policy.

When submitting the mentored reviewer report, the mentee will be asked, “Were you mentored through this peer review?” They must indicate that they were and include the name and affiliation of the mentor in the free text box. 

For transparency, the first line of the main body of the reviewer report to the author, and confidential comments to the editor, must include:

“[Name of mentee] completed this review under the supervision of [Name of mentor] as part of a peer review mentoring scheme endorsed in the journal.”

BMC and Trials follow the guidance described in the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. As mentor and mentee reviewers we ask that you familiarize yourself with, and follow, this guidance.

Why consider peer review mentoring?

We support the development of the next-generation of researchers. Peer reviewing manuscripts is an essential skill for any researcher, enabling critical appraisal of the latest advancements in the field with a view to ensuring integrity of scientific research and supporting clear and effective communication. 

What happens when the article is published?

We welcome early-career researchers to cite their reviews to help with their own personal development. As an open peer review journal, the peer review reports of accepted manuscripts will be posted alongside the published article under a CC-BY license. Citations should be in the following format:

Surname, first initial(s). Referee Report For: Published article title, Journal Name, Year, Volume: Page (URL to reviewer report – accessed on Date)

We can also provide confirmation of review on letter headed paper or reviewer certificates. If you require either of these, please contact us using the ‘Contact us’ email detailed at the bottom of this page.

Useful training resources for peer reviewers

The Nature Masterclasses platform offers a free online course on peer review, featuring video interviews with Nature Research journal editors, experienced peer reviewers, and published authors. The course contains key and relevant insight into the complexities of peer review and is made up of four modules, which can either be worked through in sequence or as and when the modules are required. Total course duration is around three hours. On completion of the course, participants will have the opportunity to download a Nature Masterclasses course completion certificate. If you’re interested, simply register on the Nature Masterclasses website.

Other useful peer reviewing resources include:

·         The Sense about Science nuts and bolts guide to peer review for early career researchers.

·         The Publons reviewer academy.

·         The BMC Blog series on ‘How to peer review‘.

·         The BMC Medicine series ‘Peer review – tips for junior reviewers’.

If you have any questions or feedback about the peer reviewer mentoring project in Trials, please contact us using the ‘Contact us’ email detailed at the bottom of this page.

Springer Nature’s resources for peer reviewers can be found here and for more information on the ways BMC is advancing peer review, see our dedicated page here.

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