Aside from being of interest to other researchers, answers to this might illustrate to non-scientists the effort peer review takes.

Peer review is part of what keeps standards high in science.

Scientific papers are sent out from the journals to peer-reviewers – other scientists who volunteer their time to critique the paper and offer their judgements on it to the editor. Usually the final call on accepting the paper with or without revisions (asked for or suggested by the peer reviewers) rests with the editors.

On twitter today, Rebecca Priestley asked: “Academics – how long do you usually spend peer-reviewing a journal article?”

Good question. How long do people typically take to review a paper?

How long do you take? If you review research papers as part of your time, let us know in the comments below. It’d be interesting to see how much time people typically put in.

It’s a case of ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ but this effort is also time away from or over-and-above research and teaching.

How much of researchers’ time (in total) is tied up reviewing other’s work? How much does it tot up to over a year? So, let me add an additional question: how many papers do you typically review each week? (Or month, as the case may be.)

It’s complicated that some journals have different peer-review requirements; comments there welcome too.

So – how long do you take to peer-review papers?


This is not about peer review of grant applications, another topic again. I’m also staying away from the wider topic of alternatives to current peer-review schemes. As interesting as that topic is, I fear it’ll result in people not answering the question posed here through getting side-tracked!

Other articles on Code for life:

Should all research papers have a ‘Limitations’ section?

Find a home for your research paper, authors, related papers – ask Jane

Outreach sections for research papers?

What is your relationship with your research notebook?