Frequently asked questions for Je-S electronic peer review - ESRC

Find details of how to complete a review using the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system in the Peer Review (Reviewers’ Functionality).

1. What is the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system?

Je-S is a website currently used for completing and submitting research proposals to all research councils, including ESRC, and peer review of proposals.

2. Why is ESRC using the Je-S system for peer review?

We are committed to full participation in the Je-S system. The system provides a common interface to all research councils for applicants, research organisations and reviewers. ESRC currently provides proposal submission and peer review via the Je-S system.

There are specific advantages for both applicants and reviewers, including:

  • applications are no longer posted which means that confidential proposals are more securely handled since the chosen reviewer receives these direct in their personal Je-S account
  • there are no time delays particularly for non-UK based reviewers
  • the reviewer can view the full proposal, together with any associated documents, before deciding whether they wish to undertake the review.

3. I’ve never used Je-S before and don’t have an account. How do I get one?

If you are an ESRC Peer Review College member, we will have added your details to the Je-S database in order to create an account. When you are notified of your first review request, the email you are sent will include a link that will take you to where you can activate your account. In order to do this, you will need to enter a username and password and some prompts and responses in case you forget your login details.

If you are not an ESRC Peer Review College member, an account will be created for you before a review is requested. You will be able to activate this account by following the link in the email sent notifying you of the review request.

When your account has been activated, you will be taken to the assigned document summary screen in the system where you should select the ‘peer review’ option.

4. When I first tried to access the peer review documents I’ve been sent, I got to a screen called ‘reviewer protocols’ and couldn’t get any further. What is this?

The reviewer protocols outline the research councils’ expectations regarding issues such as confidentiality of the material contained in the review documents and conflicts of interest. Reviewers must agree to abide by these protocols before being presented with any review material. Once you have indicated your agreement to the protocols, you will not be asked to do it again. You will, however, be asked to reaffirm your agreement once a year.

5. I’d like to see the proposal before I decide whether to do the review or not. How can I do this?

You may view the full proposal before making a decision about whether to complete the review.

You will need to agree to the reviewer protocols before accessing the review materials. Once you have done this, you will be presented with the document menu screen and you should select view documents to review from the document data menu.

6. Can I get a printed copy of the review form, so that I can see all the questions I need to answer before I begin making any responses in the system?

It is possible to print a blank copy of the review form.

In the document menu screen, you should select ‘create document for printing’ from the document import and export menu. If you then choose to include blank sections under the print options, you can create a printout of the form that includes all questions.

7. Do I need to answer all the questions on the form?

You need to answer questions in all ‘edit’ sections of the form if you are completing the review, or ‘decline to review’ only if you are declining the review request.

There are maximum character limits (including spacing and punctuation) for each question but no minimum limits. If you are unsure whether you have missed a question, you can select validate document at any time. You will then be provided with a list of questions that still need to be answered.

Once you have completed the review you must select the ‘submit document’ option in order for ESRC to receive your response.

8. What information should I be giving in response to each question on the form? Are any guidance notes available?

Within Je-S there is context-sensitive help text into which we have inserted guidance notes for completing the form.

If you select ‘help’ at the top-right corner of the screen while in any section of the review form, the appropriate guidance will appear. It is important that you take account of the scheme under which the proposal has been submitted, as there will be scheme-specific guidance in many cases. You can find the scheme in the banner at the top of each screen.

9. I’m not sure what to do next. Who can I contact for help?

If you need any assistance or advice in your use of the system or experience any problems, you should contact the Je-S helpdesk. They can be contacted by telephone on 01793 444164 or by email on and are available from 08:30-17:00 Monday to Thursday and 08:30-16:30 Friday, UK time (excluding public holidays).

10. I’m not sure that I’m eligible to complete the review. Who can I contact for advice?

If you need advice on your eligibility to carry out the review or have any questions about information contained in the proposal or on the review process, you should contact the ESRC officer whose details appear in the instructions to reviewer section of the form.

11. I don’t want to complete the review that I have been asked to. What should I do?

It would be very helpful if you could tell us that you are unable or unwilling to complete the review as soon as possible so that we may approach an alternative reviewer.

Ideally, you should do this by selecting ‘decline to review’ under the document data menu in the Je-S review form.

It is important, once you have provided the information requested in this section, that you select the ‘decline to review’ button. This is necessary for your response to be forwarded to ESRC.

12. I have elected to decline the review request and have been asked to suggest an alternative reviewer. Do I need to do this?

This is optional. However, it would be helpful if you could suggest an alternative reviewer.

Last updated: 23 February 2023

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