GENETICS Peer Review Training Program

Get real-world peer review training and experience by participating in this innovative program!

Applications are now closed.

Peer reviewers are vital to science. Yet early career scientists in our field rarely receive formal training in how to be a good reviewer.

This uneven training means we’re failing to prepare the next generation of reviewers. But it also means many students and postdocs miss the chance to develop skills central to their success: understanding the expectations of peer reviewers and editors, critical thinking, evaluating research, and providing constructive scientific feedback.

GSA and GENETICS are addressing this gap with a program that gives early career members real-world peer review experience. Participants will receive online training and advice from GENETICS editors as they become reviewers for manuscripts submitted to the journal. Former GENETICS Editor in Chief Mark Johnston has written about the impetus for the program on our blog, where we’ve also documented the program’s successful pilot. You can read more about the program in The Scientist.

Early career scientists from anywhere in the world are encouraged to apply. We particularly welcome applications from members who lack opportunities to receive peer review training in their home labs or departments.

Program Description

This program is conducted online; no travel is required. Participants complete five hours of virtual training in which they:

  • Learn to dissect a manuscript
  • Conduct a practice manuscript review
  • Receive personalized feedback on their practice review

After training, participants will take part in the peer review process at GENETICS, reviewing real manuscripts that match their expertise for a period of up to two years. Their reviews will be used in the editorial process and participants will receive the decision letter and the other reviews. The editors may also provide participant reviewers with feedback.

In partnership with the Early Career Leadership Program, participants are also invited to:

  • Present their research in an online seminar series for an audience of journal editors, established investigators, program participants, and early career leaders.
  • Participate in our virtual career development seminar series on topics such as mock interviews, drafting cover letters, teaching statements, diversity statements, and other job materials, effective use of an Individual Development Plan, and more.


GSA members, including senior graduate students, postdocs, and early career faculty, are invited to apply. Applicants should have published at least one peer-reviewed manuscript, preferably as the first author.

Selection Process

We seek a range of applicants, including early career scientists in academia, biotech, publishing, and non-profit careers. Some successful applicants may have significant experience in reviewing manuscripts whereas others will not. All participants will have previously published their own research in a peer reviewed journal.

Selections will be made by a committee composed of journal editors and early career scientist GSA members. All applicants will be notified within eight weeks of the application deadline about the status of their application.

Application Process

Applicants should submit the following material via the application form (linked at the top of the page when applications are open).

  • A current CV, including publication list
  • An explanation of why you are interested in the program (maximum 250 words)
  • A short description of prior experience in scientific reviewing (maximum 250 words)

Indicate which journal section(s) match your area of expertise (maximum 3):

  • Cellular Genetics
  • Complex Traits
  • Developmental & Behavioral Genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome Integrity & Transmission
  • Genome & Systems Biology
  • Methods, Technology and Resources
  • Statistical Genetics & Genomics
  • Empirical Population Genetics
  • Theoretical Population Genetics

Questions about the program or application? Email: peerreview@genetics-gsa.org

Learn more about career development at GSA

Early Career Leadership and Professional Development Program
Students, postdocs, and other early career scientists (ECS) are the future of the GSA community. To strengthen their voice in the Society, GSA developed the Early Career Scientist leadership and professional development program. This program provides rich opportunities for early career scientists to develop skills, gain experience, network, and produce concrete deliverables that demonstrate their abilities.

Learn more »

Career Development Symposia

GSA offers funding for student and postdoc members to organize local symposia that provide career and professional development opportunities for early career scientists. Examples could include career skills symposia, networking events, and scientific symposia with substantial opportunities for student and postdoc presenters.

Learn more »