Training reviewers (if possible) could improve the quality of a journal’s reviews and moreover enhance the quality of the submitted article manuscripts. However, members of the editorial board are not qualified to train reviewers, but they can supervise their training and develop brochures or guidelines for this purpose.
It is also important that both the reviewers and the scientific journal share the same goals and expectations regarding the reviews. Generally, scientific journals expect the reviewers to review each article independently. This means that each review must differ from the other ones, based on the article and the reviewer.
It must be requested from the reviewers to keep the details of the manuscripts confidential which means that they should not discuss the content of an article with their colleagues, make use of it, cite it, or copy the manuscript before it is published. Another important matter is that the reviewers should be encouraged to submit their review reports on time. Generally, scientific journals set a deadline for the reviewers and remind them when that deadline is close; however, the reviewers might ignore the importance of this issue. In this case, the reviewer must be immediately replaced so that the manuscripts can be reviewed on time.
It should be noted that reviewers – from a general point of view – can also be the audience and authors of journal articles. A scientific journal should consider the following, in order to provide effective and on-time reviews:
- Some of the journals overload their competent and punctual reviewers by assigning too many articles to them. In order to avoid such issues, the scientific journal guidelines must always mention the number of articles that will be assigned to a reviewer per year.
- The journal could ask the potential reviewers beforehand if they have the time to review the manuscript. This shows that the journal respects their time and opinion. Moreover, the reviewers who are not willing to collaborate with the journal are recognized; therefore, the manuscripts can be reviewed more rapidly.
- Reviewers should always be appreciated for what they do. They should be informed whether their reviewed article is finally accepted or rejected, since it makes them feel part of a group; therefore, encourages them be more active.
- There are other methods for involving and encouraging competent reviewers, such as asking their opinion about the reviewing process and the rules of the scientific journal, formally appreciating them by mentioning their name in the latest issue of the scientific journal each year (without mentioning the articles they have reviewed), subscribing them to the printed or online version of the journal, and sending them promotional merchandise (e.g., postcards or pens). However, not all scientific journals have enough budget to make all of their reviewers feel that their contributions are appreciated.