Can I import data from my previous peer review software?

1. Overview

Scholastica supports importing reviewer information so you can easily invite reviewers to sign up for Scholastica and write a review. Scholastica does not support importing authors or editors because the way we track these users is different than other software in two key ways:

  1. Authors, editors, and reviewers are linked to their individual accounts, which is created and managed by the actual user rather than the journal. For example, the journal does not create an editor, only the editorship.
  2. Authors are defined by their products. Authors are linked to the journal through a submitted manuscript. Because of this relationship, you can't have an author without the corresponding manuscript.

We've found that questions about importing data are usually related to one of two concerns, which are dealt with in more detail below: getting the new journal account on Scholastica up and running, and how to handle journal reporting/statistics.

2. How do I add reviewers, editors, etc.?


You can upload in-progress manuscripts on behalf of authors as a "proxy submission" so you can begin using Scholastica immediately, though we recommend that for your ease, you finish processing in-progress manuscripts in your current system. Read more here


Invite editors via the 'Editors' tab. All you will need is each editor's email address. Read more here


Authors are automatically joined to manuscripts, so as authors submit manuscripts you will be able to view and communicate with authors.


The journal's reviewer database in Scholastica is designed to grow organically: as individuals are invited to review manuscripts they are automatically added to the reviewer database. That being said, you can also choose to import reviewer information upfront — especially useful if you have a 'database' of reviewer information from a spreadsheet or previously used system. Either way, you can easily see when reviewers accept/decline invitations to review, when they submit written reviews, how early or late a review was, and save internal notes about reviewers.

Importing reviewers in bulk when first setting up your journal's Scholastica account

Importing reviewers allows you and your editors to easily reference and invite reviewers that you've worked with in the past even though they may not yet have Scholastica accounts. To import reviewers in bulk, you'll create a .CSV file containing all of the following properties (please note, the formatting must match exactly — including headers) and email the file to to request an import. Please see the required file headers below:

Field name Required data? Formatting notes
first name Yes 255 character limit
last name Yes 255 character limit
email address Yes Must be a valid email address
research specialties No Comma separated
institution No 255 character limit
department No 255 character limit
notes No Will be saved as a single reviewer note with title "Imported reviewer notes"

Example of how the .csv should be formatted before sending to Scholastica

Here's a link to a template of the .csv format required for importing if you'd like to use it for your import.

Once imported, reviewer information will show under both the Reviewers section of your journal account and under the "Your Reviewers" tab when inviting reviewers to a manuscript. Please note: Reviewers that are imported will still need to create Scholastica accounts in order to submit their reviews. The reviewers will be prompted to sign up and create a login after they've accepted your invitation for the first time.

You can add and edit tags on your reviewers which can be a good way to store information about a reviewers' research specialties and availability to review.

Invite reviewers to review a specific manuscript

Invite someone to review a specific manuscript by going to that manuscript's details page and clicking the 'Reviewers' sidebar item (read more here). As you invite reviewers, they will be automatically added to the Reviewers section of your journal account. The Reviewers pages have a place to add notes, which is a good opportunity to add data from your previous system about reviewers.

Add reviewers on an as-needed basis without inviting them to review a specific manuscript

If you've run into a colleague at a conference and they let you know that they'd be happy to act as a reviewer sometime, you can import their name, email address, research specialties, etc. to easily reference and invite them in the future — even though they may not yet have a Scholastica account.

To add a reviewer to your 'database' of reviewers on Scholastica, just navigate to My Journals > Reviewers > scroll down and click "Add a reviewer to your database".

Screenshot of the singular 'add reviewer to your database' tool. The text reads

Once you've clicked that prompt, you'll be required to enter the first name, last name, and email address of the individual whose information you'd like to add to your reviewer database. Optionally, you may also add their given research specialties, institution, department, and any internal notes about that individual.

Click "Save" when you're done. Adding a reviewer in this way will not trigger any email notifications to them, it will not create a personal account for them, and it does not invite them to a given manuscript. It will ensure that their record shows in your Reviewers tab and on the "Your Reviewers" tab when inviting a reviewer to a particular manuscript.

Important tip: Once added, that reviewer information cannot be deleted. Please ensure that you have the correct email address, name, etc. before adding a reviewer.

3. How do I handle reporting?

As with moving to any new platform, you should expect a period of pulling reporting data from both the old data source and the new platform. Over time, all the relevant data will be in Scholastica, so you will naturally phase out your old reporting through normal day-to-day use.

If you have an existing database, we recommend saving it and using it for any reporting or individual data importing (e.g. notes about reviewers) as the need arises. After a year or so, most journals have all of their relevant data in Scholastica and can use the built-in Analytics functionality. The previous database can be archived and used as needed for historical data analysis.

To learn more about being an editor, check out our Editor Guide.