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  • Lora Levett

Law and Human Behavior Reviewer Workshop

Dr. Jenn Hunt explains characteristics of helpful reviews to workshop participants.

In March at the American Psychology-Law Society Annual Meeting, the Law and Human Behavior editorial team hosted a workshop for new reviewers as part of our reviewer mentoring program. The workshop was hosted by the LHB Editorial Team: Dr. Bradley McAuliff, Editor in Chief, and Associate Editors Dr. Dave DeMatteo, Dr. Jenn Hunt, Dr. Kyle Scherr, Dr. Amanda Zelechoski, and me. You can read more about the reviewer mentoring program in our editorial, but in brief, we launched a pilot program in an attempt to expand our reviewer pool and provide reviewing opportunities for more students and early career folks. Historically, we have trained new reviewers through our Editorial Board - each Editorial Board member can choose a student reviewer to be part of the Student Editorial Board. In doing so, the Editorial Board member agrees to mentor and train the student on how to produce high quality reviews. This program is, of course, limited to those students who have access to a member of the Editorial Board (and limited in that some Editorial Board members do not work with graduate students on a day-to-day basis).

So, we decided to pilot a program to offer opportunities for mentoring to students and early career folks who want to improve reviewing skills and may not have access to an Editorial Board member. Editorial Board members can choose to be part of the program, and the Editorial Team is also mentoring a group of individuals. Our goal is to train a diverse group of graduate students and early career professionals on how to properly review articles. In addition, we hope that the participants in the program will learn about the peer review process more generally, and therefore increase their own probabilities of success in publication.

We took the first step in our program at AP-LS this March, training our mentees and members of the Student Editorial Board on how to conduct high quality reviews. We started the workshop by talking generally about our review process, decision criteria, and characteristics of helpful reviews. Then, participants broke into teams to evaluate an article submitted for publication and the quality of the mock-reviews we created. We then talked about ethics in reviewing and how to best frame review comments to be helpful and not harmful (see Sternberg's 'On Civility in Reviewing' for why this is important).

Given that reviewing can be a daunting process, I am happy to be part of this program that will hopefully help demystify that process and encourage new and diverse reviewers for our field.

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