5 Tips for Serving as a Pharmacy Journal Peer Reviewer


This will both enhance a pharmacist's knowledge and improve his or her writing skills.

Serving as a peer reviewer can both enhance a pharmacist's knowledge and improve his or her writing skills. Additionally, it allows pharmacists to stay up-to-date with drug literature. It is classified as the process of the author’s peers reviewing a manuscript submitted for publication to determine whether the article should be published, rejected, or revised. Peer reviewers are generally considered experts in the content area of the manuscript they are reviewing. Pharmacists can sign up to serve as a peer reviewer through a journal’s website. Journals have recently found difficulty in securing peer reviewers, which may be because of the time commitment and lack of training offered.

Here are 5 tips for serving as a pharmacy journal peer reviewer.

1. Make sure there is enough time to review the manuscript. Those who sign up with a journal to become peer reviewers will receive email notifications when there is a manuscript that matches their area of expertise. They will generally have 2 to 4 weeks to review a manuscript, so it is important to check the calendar to make sure that there is adequate time. Those who have full schedules should select the option that they are unable to review the manuscript but are interested in future projects. They should also provide the name of another colleague who has similar expert knowledge if possible to the journal. Remember that peer reviewing journal articles is done on a voluntary basis without compensation. However, some journals recognize their peer reviewers at conferences and on their websites.

2. Review the journal’s peer review guidance information. Most scholarly journals include articles or guidance documents regarding peer review strategies. Editors want to see the following for a peer review: critical evaluation; a discussion of the article's usefulness in literature; and feedback, including areas of improvement and strengths. Peer reviewers should provide clear recommendations for publication decisions.

3. Create a peer reviewer checklist. Journals generally do not provide training for peer reviewers, so it is important to have a manuscript checklist each time one is asked to review. Take the time to read the manuscript at least twice to get a clear understanding of the article. Remember to focus on the big picture. Make sure to provide a clear and professional analysis of the article with constructive feedback for the authors. Grammar and style should be left to the editors. However, feel free to comment on articles that have a lot of grammatical errors. The following are questions to ask while reviewing a manuscript:

  • Are the references appropriate and timely?
  • Are the study methods clear and reproducible?
  • Are the study objectives clearly stated?
  • Did the authors discuss study limitations?
  • Does the title provide a clear description without introducing bias?
  • How does the study apply to pharmacy practice?
  • Is the article timely?
  • Was there an adequate response rate for a survey?
  • Were appropriate statistical tests used?

4. Submit the review on time. Most journals have electronic submission of peer review comments, which helps facilitate the process. Make sure to submit the review on time, so that the publication process is not held up. Remember that authors have worked hard conducting research and writing the manuscript, so take the time to review their work. Set reminders in the calendar to ensure timely submission.

5. Add peer reviewing to the CV. Pharmacists should add all the journals that they have peer reviewed to their curriculum vitae. This demonstrates that they are contributing to the publication process and staying current with the pharmacy profession. Residents should consider getting involved with peer reviewing to enhance their research skills.


Janke KK, Bzowyckyj AS, Traynor AP. Editors’ perspectives on enhancing manuscript quality and editorial decisions through peer review and reviewer development. Am J Pharm Educ. 2017;81(4):73.

doi: 10.5688/ajpe81473.

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