IOP Publishing’s new state-of-the-art elearning hub to boost peer review knowledge and competency for a future generation of reviewers

10 Mar 2021 Rachael Harper

Always-on, comprehensive suite of online courses expands access to Peer review excellence: IOP training and certification

Researchers around the world can now build their peer review competency online through IOP Publishing’s (IOPP) new state-of-the-art peer review elearning hub.

The hub extends access toPeer review excellence: IOP training and certification’, the world’s first peer review programme dedicated to the physical sciences. Harnessing the most up-to-date learning technology to deliver an ‘always-on’ and fully interactive learning experience, module-by-module courses are streamed seamlessly online.  Early career researchers (ECRs) can boost their peer review knowledge and expertise at their own pace, with the possibility of standing out as an ‘IOP Trusted Reviewer’ once the full course has been completed and verified.

Peer review is a critical component of scholarly publishing. When carried out properly, it helps to safeguard the quality, validity, and importance of academic work.  For quality scientific outcomes to continue to grow, the system needs dedicated and competent reviewers. ECRs are key to this but, as less-experienced peer reviewers, it can be a daunting task.  ‘Peer review excellence: IOP training and certification’ was launched in September 2020 to give ECRs the ability to review with confidence, increasing trust and standardising the quality of the process.

The peer review elearning hub, which is free to access from today for the physical science community, delivers a portfolio of online courses which cover the fundamentals of peer review, how to write a review, and peer review ethics. The modules are tailored specifically for the physical sciences to ensure reviewers achieve an outstanding level of competence, with the ability to constructively critique scientific literature to an exceptional standard.  Completing the course online puts ECRs on a fast-track path to becoming an ‘IOP Trusted Reviewer’, following the submission of a top-quality review report as graded by experienced editors.

Miriam Maus, publishing director at IOP Publishing said: “Our peer review training and certification sets out to create a future generation of outstanding reviewers, so the introduction of our elearning hub is a natural next step to take the programme to an even broader pool of researchers. We believe we’ve created a programme that the whole physical science community can be proud of. We are not only boosting the skills and confidence of reviewers, but also giving researchers the tools to spot and prevent research misconduct.  Ultimately, we are increasing trust in the process and improving peer review standards across the physical sciences.”

Laura Feetham, peer review engagement manager at IOP Publishing said: “We’re always looking at how we can improve the experience of the thousands of researchers who review for us every year. After collecting qualitative data from in-depth interviews with researchers, as well as quantitative data from our survey of 1,200 reviewers, it became clear that reviewers wanted more recognition for the work that they do, and early career researchers in particular wanted reliable training in how to peer review. Providing free online access to our peer review excellence programme through our elearning hub, with the opportunity to achieve IOP Trusted Reviewer status, evolves our approach in line with their needs.”

Having recently completed the peer review excellence programme, Joshuah T. Heath, Physics Ph.D Candidate said: “I found the programme helpful, giving me lots of practical advice and insight into the peer review process. I believe that the introduction of the ‘IOP Trusted Reviewer’ status will continue to increase the standard of reviews, as recognition and trust will be placed upon individuals who show a strong ability to effectively critique scientific literature.”

To sign up to the peer review elearning hub, go to


Find out more about Peer review excellence: IOP training and certification

About IOP Publishing:

IOP Publishing provides publications through which leading-edge scientific research is distributed worldwide. IOP Publishing is central to the Institute of Physics. Any financial surplus earned by IOP Publishing goes to support science through the activities of the Institute.

Peer review at IOP Publishing:

Peer review plays an essential role in maintaining quality across scientific scholarly communications. At IOP Publishing, we are dedicated to providing a high-quality peer review experience, with more than 60 staff across our global offices dedicated to managing the peer review process, allowing reviewers and board members to concentrate on the science. We are committed to providing a fair and impartial review process, and to providing the fastest possible service to authors.

Find out more about our unique approach

About the Institute of Physics (IOP):

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is the professional body and learned society for physics in the UK and Ireland. It seeks to raise public awareness and understanding of physics, inspire people to develop their knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of physics and support the development of a diverse and inclusive physics community. As a charity, it has a mission to ensure that physics delivers on its exceptional potential to benefit society.

For more information, contact Rachael Harper, Head of Marketing Communications at IOP Publishing,