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For reviewers

Why review for UCL Open: Environment?

Review by academic peers is an essential part of the scholarly publishing and communication process. By sharing their expert opinion, peers evaluate and improve the research of their peers. However, peer review is not a perfect system. One of the concerns with the traditional closed model of peer review where reviewers are anonymised to authors is that reviewers are seldom credited for their voluntary performance. A further dispute is that unscrupulous reviewers can hamper scientific progress by demanding questionable changes, either intentionally exploiting anonymity or because they are simply unsuitable. Peer review suffers from a lack of transparency, recognition, and accountability.

UCL Open: Environment is different. We operate on an open peer review model where the identity of the reviewers and their comments are visible at all times. This means that reviews have to be constructive, courteous, and well-written, as we should expect. These reviews are also moderated by ORCID to maintain some standard of quality control that goes beyond status or any sort of academic hierarchy. Any sort of system like this requires a standard of moderation, and we believe that by integrating with ORCID this is the fairest and most robust way of doing so.

Reviews are published with a Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY (4.0) licence and also receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from CrossRef, similar to a formal research publication. This means that reviews are re-usable, citable and permanent records of your reviewing activities, and therefore all of your review activities can be integrated with ORCID, Publons and ImpactStory, helping to build your profile as a researcher.

Who can perform a peer review?

To perform a peer review, all you need are five records associated with your ORCID to demonstrate that you are an active and professional researcher. If you are early in your career and see something that you just have to peer review, let the Editors know and we can arrange for access to review. If you do not yet have an ORCID identity, you can easily sign up online using your professional email address and add your publication history.

Users with at least one publication linked to their ORCID account are able to comment on a article.

Authors are encouraged to aid the peer review process by inviting reviewers to review their preprint article openly (the names and affiliations of reviewers are published alongside their review reports). Further information about this can be found in our open peer review process pages.


Comments can be much shorter than reviews and may either add relevant information to the discussion, highlight certain aspects of the publication, or express general agreement or disagreement. Comments should either support other readers in making up their own mind about the paper or encourage the authors to further improve their work.

Please keep the following points in mind before commenting on a article:

  • Comments are made under your real identity (ORCID) and are visible to the public.
  • Comments should be written in clear and comprehensible English.
  • The feedback should be constructive and issue-focused.
  • We expect everyone to express their opinion in a polite and objective way.
  • In case of disagreement, please be respectful and refrain from personal attacks.
  • Please inform the editorial office if you encounter any inappropriate comment by emailing uclopen.environment@ucl.ac.uk.
  • Editors may intervene at any point should there be any concern about a misuse of reviewing and commenting tools.

Please read our peer review and commenting code of conduct for further guidance and information.

The peer review process

Read more about the process of the preprint server post publication open peer review, at UCL Open: Environment.

How to peer review

Find out how to contribute a peer review at UCL Open: Environment.

Peer review and commenting code of conduct

Read about our peer review and commenting code of conduct and best practice for open peer review.


Read how UCL Open: Environment utilises ORCID as well as registering and linking your ORCID to submit, review and comment.

How to cite

One of the benefits of publishing your work at UCL Open: Environment is that once a new submission is approved by the Editor for peer review, it is immediately made free to read online under the CC-BY 4.0 attribution licence, with an assigned DOI, making it immediately re-usable and citable. Find out more about citing a preprint article and an official publication in UCL Open: Environment.

Publishing policies

UCL and UCL Press regard it as fundamental that research should be conducted and published according to ethical guidelines. Read further information on all our editorial policies, guiding Editors, authors, reviewers and users through ethical publication behaviour.