I realized something profound the last time that I submitted a manuscript for peer-review to a journal. I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize it, but it occurred to me as I was selecting my list of reviewers that this was a prime opportunity to live the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion that I’d like to see in the academic scientific enterprise. I realized that due to unconscious bias that the first 4 or so scientists that I thought about listing as reviewers were not representative of the researchers doing work in my field of study. So I took a few more minutes and thought of several people that I could suggest as reviewers who didn’t work in Canada, who were women, who were early career researchers, or who were new to the field of biology that I work in.
Anecdotally the review process was fairly quick and the reviewer comments that I received back were extremely useful and led to a much better manuscript. I also noticed that the reviewer comments were considerably less snarky and quite respectful in comparison to some of my past experiences with peer review.
This approach is a permanent change that I’ll be making from now on when I select reviewers. I respectfully suggest that you do the same.