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How to Review: Nov 30, 2015

Reviewing manuscripts is a part of an academic's life, but Chris Parsons writes at Southern Fried Science, it's not something that's generally taught in a class. To that end, he offers some advice for novice reviewers.

He first notes that he generally follows what he calls 'Shiffman's rule' after a colleague: he tries to review two manuscripts for every one he submits. Still, he says to be sure that you review manuscripts that fall within your expertise, but notes that they don't have to fall exactly in your field, though you ought to know something about the topic.

Parsons also advises new reviewers to take a look at the journal's guidelines and to report any conflict of interest you might have.

But the overarching advice he dispenses is to be nice and to be professional, and not like the notorious reviewer #3.

"Bear in mind that many of the papers you receive may be by newly minted MS and PhD students making their first forays into academic publishing," Parsons writes at Southern Fried Science. "Be critical, but constructively so. Try to offer some words of support even if you do not believe their work is worthy of publishing."