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Durham University

Research and Innovation Services

Expectations for Reviewers

All established academics should be willing to undertake periodic review of the work of others, whether grant applications or publications, as part of their commitment to scholarship in their field and to academic citizenship: it is a university expectation for those promoted to senior positions. Departments and other units should also create a supportive environment in which all staff regardless of position feel able to offer constructive feedback to colleagues. Reviewers should engage in the following activities, as appropriate to their research area and the practices of their liaison group:

  • Be willing to review grant proposals, take part in liaison group review colleges and read material that is being prepared for publication; with the expectation that material for review will be sent in timely fashion, and where the number of requests in a given period is reasonable and manageable.
  • Provide advice on good practice to less experienced colleagues, and where appropriate, invite them to be co-applicants on grant proposals or publications where their expertise would be relevant.
  • Provide an adequate amount and level of feedback; offer honest and constructive criticism, but be careful to phrase this in a positive and respectful fashion, especially in the case of ECRs or less experienced colleagues.
  • Produce feedback in sufficient time to allow the applicant to make necessary revisions to the proposal or draft publication.
  • Be willing to help and advise colleagues how to revise and improve outputs, in return for appropriate credit or acknowledgement, depending on research field.
  • Encourage colleagues to be appropriately ambitious as to the destination of their outputs, reaching for publication venues that are stretching but not unrealistic, and to stress the importance of high quality publications over quantity, given sufficient outputs to meet REF requirements.
  • Take part in periodic department calibration or research quality assessments by reading a sample of outputs.
  • Celebrate the success that they helped to create, when a grant is awarded or a publication appears.