The golden rule of reviewing

Mark A. McPeek, Donald L. Deangelis, Ruth G. Shaw, Allen J. Moore, Mark D. Rausher, Donald R. Strong, Aaron M. Ellison, Louise Barrett, Loren Rieseberg, Michael D. Breed, Jack Sullivan, Craig W. Osenberg, Marcel Holyoak, Mark A. Elgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


A major bottleneck in the time required to publish a scientific or scholarly paper is the speed with which reviews by peers are returned to journals. Peer review is a reciprocal altruistic system in which each individual may perform every task-editors, reviewers, and authors-at different times. Journals have no way to coerce reviewers to return their critiques faster. To greatly shorten the time to publication, all actors in this altruistic network should abide by the Golden Rule of Reviewing: review for others as you would have others review for you. Say yes to reviewing whenever your duties and schedule allow; provide a thorough, fair, and constructive critique of the work; and do it at your first opportunity regardless of the deadline.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

McPeek, M. A., Deangelis, D. L., Shaw, R. G., Moore, A. J., Rausher, M. D., Strong, D. R., Ellison, A. M., Barrett, L., Rieseberg, L., Breed, M. D., Sullivan, J., Osenberg, C. W., Holyoak, M., & Elgar, M. A. (2009). The golden rule of reviewing. American Naturalist, 173(5).