Reviewer Guidelines


Early-Career researchers with little experience of reviewing may be interested to read our general Guide to peer review.

If you are reviewing a Policy Direction, please refer to our review guidelines for this article type.

If you are reviewing a Practitioner's Perspective, please refer to our review guidelines for this article type.

As a thank you to our reviewers we list the names of all those who reviewed papers for the journal in the previous year.


Collaborative peer review

We strongly encourage senior reviewers to review in collaboration with more junior members of their lab. We believe that this is fantastic training for early career researchers. If, as the head of a lab, you are invited to review but are too busy to provide a review yourself, we also encourage you to suggest early career members of your lab to review in your place. In this case we advise you to look over the comments before they are submitted and approve them. The reviewer should note that this has been done in their confidential comments.
If you would like to share a review with an early career researcher in your lab, please bear in mind the following:

  • Contact the journal first – please don’t forget that the review process is confidential and it is very important that the journal is informed before a review is shared.

  • Give the names of all who read the manuscript and contributed to the review in the confidential comments to Editors section of the review. This is important for two reasons, first so that there is a proper record of anyone who has read a copy of the manuscript. Second, so that anyone who contributed may be approached directly to review in the future.

  • If you’d like to suggest that the journal passes a review request on to a lab member, rather than sharing the review as a development exercise, then it is important you decline the review but suggest your lab member as an alternative. This is vital to ensure the individual builds up their own reviewing record, and so that the journal editors preserve their right to choose reviewers.


Policy Directions

This is a paper type for policy pieces, relating to policy directions, decision-making and implementation. The focus of these articles should be on informing and improving policy, rather than critiques, and any opinions should be supported by a clear evidence base. Articles should be set within a broad policy context and relate to the wider issues around constrained decision making and should be <4000 words.When assessing a Policy Direction article please comment on:

  • What you understand to be the main message/s of the manuscript, paying particular attention to the policy focus of the work. Indicate the work’s topicality and strengths.
  • Whether the paper has direct policy relevance and can be explicitly used as evidence to inform and improve policy.
  • Whether opinions are supported by a clear evidence base.
  • Whether the work helps to bridge the gap between research and policy implementation.
  • Whether the paper is set within a broad policy context and relates to the wider issues around constrained decision making
  • Whether the specific policy instruments that should be modified as a result of the findings of the study are clearly identified.
  • Whether the paper clearly informs the academic community about the concerns and needs of the authors and could stimulate policy and management-relevant research.
  • Whether in the context of the existing literature and current knowledge what is the significance, interest, international relevance and importance of the work and is it novel or mainly confirmatory
  • How the work could be improved, stating any major flaws or weaknesses and what the severity of their impact is on the paper, and identifying any similar or relevant work, which has not been acknowledged. As with any paper review, if you suspect ethical issues of concerns in relation to this work, please raise this with the editor, providing as much detail as possible.
  • The quality of the presentation: Is the paper clearly written, succinct and accessible, and how could it be made more clear or accessible to nonspecialists. The article should be written with the minimum of technical language and jargon, so as to be understandable to a general audience. Are title and keywords are appropriate, and the tables and figures clear, sufficient and correctly labelled.

Practitioner's Perspectives

The aim of Practitioner's Perspectives is to bridge the gap between applied ecological research and practical environmental management.
These short articles (<4000 words and <20 references) are designed to provide a platform for individuals involved in hands-on management of ecological resources – be they species, ecosystems or landscapes – to present their personal views on the direction of applied ecological research. At least one author should have direct experience of the practical management of the environment.
When assessing a Practitioner’s Perspective article please comment on:

  • What you understand to be the main message/s of the manuscript. Indicate the work’s topicality and strengths.
  • Who will be interested in reading the paper, and why (e.g. Policymakers, Practitioners).
  • How the work offers a constructive way forward to help bridge the gap between research and the practical management of the environment. Does it make clear recommendations to ensure improved science-based practice? Does it challenge the scientific community to consider the perspectives of individuals addressing applied ecological issues? Could it stimulate policy and management-relevant research? For example, how might future research help address ecological problems more effectively; and how might this be best achieved (e.g. through greater dialogue, joint projects, new research techniques, etc).
  • The novelty of the work and whether opinions are supported by a clear evidence base.
  • The broad interest of the work. Even if based on a regional study, indicate whether the article is internationally relevant.
  • How the work could be improved, stating any major flaws or weaknesses and what the severity of their impact is on the paper, and identifying any similar or relevant work, which has not been acknowledged. As with any manuscript review, if you suspect ethical issues of concerns in relation to this work, please raise this with the editor, providing as much detail as possible.
  • We welcome examples of best practice that may not have made it into the wider academic literature, but we do not want advertorials for the activities of an NGO, company or consultancy.
  • The quality of the presentation: Is the paper clearly written, succinct and accessible, and how could it be made more clear or accessible to nonspecialists. The article should be written with the minimum of technical language and jargon, so as to be understandable to a general audience. Are title and keywords are appropriate, and the tables and figures clear, sufficient and correctly labelled.