Austral Ecology Early Career Reviewer Program


The Austral Ecology editorial board has decided to initiate a program that provides experience in manuscript reviewing for early career ecologists.

We anticipate that there are a number of senior PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, or ecologists in the early stages of their employment in other positions, who have the skills and knowledge to qualify them to comment on submitted manuscripts, but who feel that they lack the experience or confidence to embark on a manuscript review. Additionally, these early career ecologists represent an important resource for the associate editors of our journal who often struggle to find experienced reviewers willing to give the time needed for a thoughtful review.

We see this as a mutualistic arrangement.  The journal gains from having an additional pool of reviewers, the Early Career Reviewers gain from building their experience in the journal publishing process, from a different perspective than as submitting authors.

Although this scheme would be directed mainly to provide mentoring during early career development for members of the Ecological Society of Australia, it would not be restricted to ESA members.

Why would you want to become an Early Career Reviewer for Austral Ecology?

  • You gain experience in an important component of the work of an ecological scientist
  • You will be provided with feedback on your report and comparison with the reviews of a more experienced ecologist
  • Your reviewing activity adds to your CV
  • You gain privileged access, before anyone else, to exciting new research and ideas from around the world
  • You can use the quality and format of presentation in the manuscripts you review to benchmark against papers you are preparing yourself

How will it work and How do I get involved?

  1. You register by sending your name, current employment/ degree status, institution, contact details and broad area of ecological interest, to the Managing Editor at Useful information to allow editors to allocate manuscripts to you might include titles of your thesis and/or current projects, names of supervisors, and any publications you have already produced.
  2. Associate Editors of Austral Ecology will be sent a spreadsheet of potential Early Career Reviewers, and will have the option to select reviewers from the list for appropriate manuscripts. Only one Early Career Reviewer per manuscript.  Note that not all editors will use this system and it may be some time before an individual Early Career Reviewer gets chosen.
  3. Like all invited reviewers, Early Career Reviewers have the option of declining an invitation to review a particular manuscript.
  4. The Scholar One system we use to manage the review process keeps a record of individual reviewers, so we can avoid different editors inviting the same reviewer multiple times in close succession.
  5. If you accept and submit a review, the Associate Editor considers the manuscript, the review from the Early Career Reviewer, and the other review, and makes a recommendation to the Managing Editor about the manuscript. 
  6. When transmitting that recommendation the Associate Editor informs the Managing Editor that an Early Career Reviewer is involved.
  7. The Managing Editor assesses the reports, comes to a final decision and informs the authors.
  8. A separate letter is sent to all reviewers that informs them of the final decision and allows them to see the other review of the manuscript (usually anonymously).  At the same time the Managing Editor will separately write to the Early Career Reviewer, commenting on the quality and relevance of their review (sometimes using information that the Associate Editor might have provided), explaining any discrepancy between the recommendation of the Early Career Reviewer and the final decision, and inviting any further enquiry about the process.
  9. An Early Career Reviewer can leave the system at any time they like, but also can stay registered as long as they like, with perhaps an age limit of 70.

Registrations are open now!