Feedback literacy is not only important to students and teachers but also academics. In particular, academics and researchers who are actively involved as peer reviewers for journals need to develop their capacity, ability, and disposition to provide constructive feedback to authors. In this presentation, I argue that it is especially crucial to develop feedback literacy of peer reviewers because they face more constraints than feedback givers in other contexts (e.g., education). For instance, the identity of the authors is usually unknown to peer reviewers, making it difficult to construct feedback dialogues; other hurdles include the restriction on the mode of feedback, power (im)balance.
Despite the above, not much formal training is available to equip peer reviewers to be feedback literate; the rather mystified scholarly peer-review process, which is usually done individually and “in the dark”, also discourages learning from observation. To demystify the feedback process of scholarly peer review and to share first-hand experiences, this presentation reports a collaborative autoethnographic study on two early-career researchers (ECRs) who are active journal peer reviewers. Since 2017, these two peer reviewers have reviewed for 22 international journals in various disciplines and completed 67 reviews. Recently, they were awarded the Reviewer of the Year Award by Routledge and Higher Education Research & Development, a top-tiered journal in higher education. Informed by conceptual frameworks of feedback literacy (Carless & Boud, 2018; Carless & Winstone, 2020; Chong, 2020) and networked ecological systems theory (Neal & Neal, 2013), personal narratives and reflections of the two peer reviewers will be shared. Implications for supporting less experienced peer reviewers (especially ECRs and doctoral students) to be feedback literate peer reviewers will be discussed.