UC Berkeley is currently recruiting students to support Rapid Reviews COVID-19 (RR:C19), a newly funded initiative of the MIT Press and Berkeley that will develop and launch an open access, rapid-review overlay journal for the accelerated curation and peer review of COVID-19-related research.

RR:C19will be overseen by an editorial board representing experts from every corner of the globe, but the effort will also rely on a ground-up effort where students will lead a critical “pre” peer review process that will allow us to scrape preprint servers weekly, and advance important papers for further editorial review (these reviews will then be published on a open, public platform). UC Berkeley will serve as the editorial office for this effort, led by editor-in-chief Stefano M. Bertozzi, managing editor Dr. Hildy Fong Baker, and assistant managing editor Madhav Nekkar.

We are currently recruiting for the following editorial office positions:

1) Graduate Student Peer Review Managers/Assistant Editors

Four part-time paid GSR positions (or equivalent), who will each oversee “pre” peer review activities related to one of four domains:

  1. Humanities and Social Sciences
  2. Biomedical Sciences and Public Health
  3. Medical Sciences
  4. Physical Sciences

Current doctoral students, medical residents or post-doc fellows strongly preferred. Master’s students with very strong relevant experience may also be considered. These managers will help lead the search for preprints that are of notable quality or high interest in the community, prioritizing manuscripts that could have real impact on the COVID-19 response for the senior editorial team/editorial board. They will be supported by student volunteer reviewers.

To apply

2) Student volunteer reviewers

Graduate and upper-level undergraduate students who can devote at minimum 3 hrs/wk (3 hours = thorough review of approximately 5-10 articles per week) towards an important crowd-sourced effort of screening preprints and providing comments/assessment. Volunteers should be available to commit to at least 3-6 months of volunteering to support RR:C19 and have a strong research methodology background relevant to one or more of the key domains. This opportunity is perfect for those who would like to be part of an impactful effort to support COVID-19-related research covering global scientific and scholarly approaches to the pandemic and its impacts.

If you are interested in being part of the volunteer student review team, please fill out this Google Form: https://forms.gle/T7JSbERw86xX64mk8

The project is slated to begin in June 2020, with all student hiring complete before July. If interested, please respond to these opportunities by June 19, 2020. If you have questions, please email rr.c19@berkeley.edu.

How to apply: Graduate Student Peer Review Managers 

Rapid Reviews COVID-19 is an initiative of the MIT Press and UC Berkeley to develop and launch an open access, rapid-review overlay journal for the accelerated curation and peer review of COVID-19- related research covering global scientific and scholarly approaches to the pandemic and its impacts. The objective of this effort is to contribute significantly to the body of peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature about COVID-19, by offering peer review on top of preprints to bring a level of rigor that clinicians, researchers, scholars, journalists, policy-makers and others worldwide rely on to make sound judgements about the current crisis and its amelioration. A key feature of this work is the creation of a shorter runway for peer-reviewed research communications produced in the wake of the pandemic, helping accelerate productive academic, medical, and social science research on COVID-19 while reducing the likelihood of false and misleading scientific news being consumed by the public. 

UC Berkeley will be the home to the editorial team and will include the editor-in-chief Professor Stefano M. Bertozzi, managing editor Dr. Hildy Fong Baker, assistant editor (TBD), four graduate student peer review managers, and a cadre of volunteer screeners of the pre-print literature. Together, they will manage and oversee the editorial board and peer review process, and work closely with MIT Press on their development and execution of marketing plans and setting up the journal on their open-source publishing platform, PubPub

Job Description

We are currently recruiting four graduate student peer review managers who will work closely with the editor-in-chief and managing editor. They will help lead the search for preprints that are of notable quality or high interest in the community, prioritizing manuscripts that could have real impact on the COVID-19 response. They will be responsible for conducting an initial appraisal of preprints in their areas of study and selecting papers of interest for review by the senior editorial team/editorial board, based on a variety of indicators. The managers will also help coordinate volunteer student screening teams that will help read and evaluate pertinent literature. 

Given the diversity of literature and high volume of preprints, we will be hiring one manager to oversee the “pre” peer review activities for each of the following four domains: 

  1. Humanities and Social Sciences: sociology, economics, public policy, political science, anthropology, law, business, human rights, art, theater, literature, etc.
  2. Biomedical Sciences and Public Health: virology, immunology, epidemiology, biostatistics, etc.
  3. Medical Sciences: pathophysiology, genetics, immunology, infectious diseases,  rheumatology, pulmonology, etc.
  4. Physical Sciences: engineering, physics, mathematical modeling, computer science, operations research, etc.

We understand that there are not bright lines that divide these four areas. For example, data science is part of all of them. Health policy bridges at least the first three, as does health economics. Successful applicants will need to work together at the boundaries of the disciplines and be comfortable with a degree of ambiguity in dealing with multi- and inter-disciplinary research. 

They will be expected to: 

  • Identify, select, and review COVID-19 search engines (i.e., Miso), preprint repositories and servers (i.e., medRxiv, bioRxiv, and related STEM and social science repositories) for relevant preprints in their area of study 
  • Review and critically assess a large number preprints. Find “diamonds in the rough.” Efficiently justify their selection (or non-selection) with a paper’s scholarly weaknesses/strengths 
  • Manage and coordinate a student volunteer team that will help review preprints 
  • Adhere to predetermined timelines for first-pass review of preprints 
  • Track and manage a database of publications 
  • Help to identify appropriate peer-reviewers across a broad range of disciplines 
  • Work closely with the editor-in-chief and managing editor on all aspects of prioritizing preprints for review by the senior editorial team and subsequent peer review. 


  • Current Ph.D./doctoral student, medical resident or post-doctoral fellow strongly preferred. Masters students with strong relevant experience in a discipline relevant to the domain may also be considered. 
  • Strong research methodology background relevant to the domain and familiarity with COVID-19- related research methods 
  • Experience conducting extensive literature reviews is expected; experience reviewing/writing grants and contributing to peer-reviewed publications/papers is desired. 
  • Excellent English writing and verbal skills. Ability to synthesize and summarize potentially dense and complex research methods and findings into clear and easy-to-understand synopses/abstracts. 
  • Extremely organized and reliable — comfortable with organizing and managing a continuous flow of COVID-19 research papers on a set timeline. Comfortable working in teams towards timelines. 
  • Be comfortable with (and ideally enjoy) a frontline view of the latest research into COVID-19 in their domain. Appreciation of how different disciplinary approaches within the domain may affect the wider global scientific, policy and social response to COVID-19. 

Requirements & Application instructions This position will require 20 hours a week, to begin immediately for 12 months initially (June/July 2020 through May/June 2021), with the possibility of extension. Ideally, the successful applicant would be able to work more in the first month or two as processes are developed and a peer-review network is established.

To apply

Please send a resume and a cover letter in one PDF to rr.c19@berkeley.edu. The hourly pay rate will commensurate with experience, and GSR appointments are available. Please indicate in your cover email which of the four domains (Humanities/Social Sciences, Biomedical/Public Health Sciences, Medical Sciences, or Physical Sciences) for which you are applying. Please also let us know if you are eligible for a work-study position. 

Categories: Graduate Division Announcements, June 2020, Opportunities