Journals Library

For reviewers

Our external reviewers are usually sourced from our extensive database of experts, from author suggestions, or from peer-to-peer recommendations.

Typically, for each research manuscript considered for publication, two to four reviewers are chosen by the NIHR Journals Library Editors to provide expertise in different areas relevant to the research topic and project.

The Journals Library has a system of single anonymous review, where authors do not know who has reviewed or edited the manuscript. As a reviewer, however, you would be expected to declare any competing interests that might relate to the research, the authors or the manuscript.

Reviewers are requested not to directly contact the authors (unless with the permission of the journal).


We start looking for potential reviewers six weeks before an Extended Research Article is due from its authors. Potential reviewers are emailed with the details of the project and asked to confirm whether or not they are available to carry out the review. For the Threaded Publication manuscripts we invite reviewers once the manuscript is delivered and assessed by an editor as ready for peer review. We work closely with authors and reviewers to track delivery dates and allow for workload planning.

As a reviewer, you will be asked a standard set of questions to form the basis of your review and will then be given four weeks to return your comments on the manuscript.  Be specific in your critique, and provide supporting evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements.

Do not involve anyone else in the review of a manuscript (including early career researchers you are mentoring), without first obtaining permission from the journal – we welcome the involvement of early career researchers in the review process but this must be agreed in advance, their input acknowledged on the reviewer’s report, and that responsibility for the overall review remains with the senior reviewer.

Your comments would then go to the Journals Library Editors along with the other reviewers’ comments for review, before being passed back to the authors along with the Editors’ comments. Generally, reviewers’ comments are sent back verbatim to authors.

The authors are given four weeks to make the required changes. Occasionally, you could be asked to re-review a manuscript but it is very rarely necessary.

An online management information system is used to manage the review process. Full instructions will be provided.

Get involved

If you are interested in registering as a reviewer, please visit our become a reviewer page.