Below I describe my learning lessons from what I have learned from reviewing papers for professional journals for more than a decade. No one has the time (ever!), but you have to do it and you have to do it well.
(1) Say yes, unless out of scope & you don't know the topic. If you need help, ask editor if ok to team review with someone you trust to learn best practices or how to review (it is not taught in coursework). I have learned much from reading topics peripheral to my own.
(2) Set calendar dates for when things are due and plan your time strategy to review and respond. I just started recording n reviews for annual reviews, because it is shadow work.
(3) You HAVE to review papers if you publish papers, if you don’t, it is what we call in the athlete community as “vampires”, people who take but don’t give. Research karma exists, being a good and fair reviewer helps move science forward and I always learn from the experience.
(4) It is important to check the references. I can’t tell you how many statements I’ve found when I check the refs are not relevant/supportive of statements being made. There are times when a review is adequate, but others when the seminal literature needs to be included.
(5) Do NOT waste your time correcting grammar/typos. I’ve wasted a ≥years of life teaching people foundational writing: which vs that; who, whom, or whose; and, there, their, and they’re. This all gets done by a copy editor who is exponentially more qualified i than you are.
(6) Create a system that works for you. It has taken me years to realize my most effective system is reading and writing on a PDF version on my iPad while transcribing thoughts through talk to text in an email to myself.
(7) I use my Saturday mornings to focus on peer review. This often means I miss out on some things with my family, but most times I can review in the margins while being present or at times when my brain is in a holding pattern.
(8) Be kind and respectful: your words can injury even the strongest in the academy. You can be critical and honest without being denigrating. Never ask anyone to add your papers unless they are relevant.

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