This guide helps you to learn how to manage the expert crowd review process efficiently and safely. By applying this process in Filestage you're able to replace the external peer review with an external expert crowd review.

Furthermore, you'll be able to create a holistic workflow via Filestage that allows you to manage your review process starting with the internal editorial review, then moving to the external expert crowd review, and finally sending the detailed feedback to the author for changes. You can also export the review report to store it for documentation purposes.

How to set up an expert crowd review project and manage the experts?

1. Create a project

After receiving the manuscript from your author, you will kick off the process by creating a new project. Once the project is created, you will upload the manuscript.

2. Upload the manuscript

There are two different ways to upload files. You can either drag & drop the file or select to upload from sources like your computer, Google Drive, or Dropbox.

3. Make sure your reviewers are anonymized

After you have uploaded the manuscript, please make sure that you have the anonymize reviewers setting enabled in your review step so your reviewers are anonymized before you start inviting them.

4. Invite reviewers

To ask experts for feedback, you invite them as reviewers. To do this, add reviewers to a review step either via email or by using the review link. This gives them access to all files in that review step.

Optional: Set a due date for the review

You can create a deadline for the review by setting a due date for files. By doing so, your reviewers will receive email reminders.

Optional: Remove reviewers

Sometimes you have experts listed as reviewers that you don't want on the file anymore. You can easily remove reviewers from review steps.

How and when to set up multiple expert crowd reviews

When managing expert crowd reviews, it may be useful to set up several expert groups to create a meaningful process. You can structure them according to your needs.

By creating multiple expert crowds, you can ensure that experts:

✔️ Stay active

✔️ Are invited to topics of their expertise

✔️ Are not overwhelmed

⭐ Bonus: By doing this, you get to keep a clear overview and can manage the crowd reviews more effectively.

To add another crowd of experts to a project, you can simply open your project dashboard and add a review step and invite your reviewers to it.

Two use cases where it would make sense to create several expert crowd review steps are when reviews need to be done thematically or at unique frequencies.

Organize expert crowd review by review frequency

To create an expert crowd by review frequency, we recommend that you create a second review step and split your reviewers between them.

For example:

  • Split the expert crowd of Ecology & Evolution into two review steps.

  • Then upload bi-weekly files to the respective review step, to ensure that none of these crowds are overloaded and stay active.

Organize expert crowd review by area of expertise

In order to divide your expert crowds by area of expertise, we recommend that you create separate projects for each area of expertise. In these projects, the experts can then be subdivided more precisely according to the area of expertise.

For example:

  • We have set up a project on microbiology and divided our experts into their areas of expertise. In this example, we separated them into the areas of bacteriology and mycology.

  • Now upload manuscripts to the respective review step that matches the expertise.

Optional: Editor selection

To guarantee the best possible expert crowd review, we recommend an optional editor review step. This means that you create a first review step to which the editors are added as reviewers. The editors first review all manuscripts, and they can then preselect if the paper meets their requirements before it goes into the crowd review.

For example:

  • We have created a first review step before the Expert Crowd review steps in the main topic Microbiology. Here, our two editors are invited, and they preselect the uploaded manuscript

  • Once the editors have verified that the requirements are met, they drag and drop the file into a review step with the crowd reviewers invited.

How to evaluate feedback from the expert crowd review and send it to the authors

There are two ways to pass on feedback to the author.

Option 1: Export review report

  1. Export review report as PDF

  2. Forward this PDF to your author via your manuscript submission system.

More control over what the author sees

Store PDF for documentation purposes

* If you want the reviewer to be anonymous in the review report, you have to open the file yourself via the reviewer link and then export the review report.

Option 2: Invite the author to access the review on Filestage

  1. Copy the review link of the correct file version.

  2. Share this review link to your author via your manuscript submission system.

The author can navigate easily through the comments

The author sees the latest version of the comments

The author can interact with the reviewers in a completely anonymous way

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach us through the chat or email at

Did this answer your question?