Q: Can authors suggest reviewers without any restriction?
I have heard that we can suggest peer reviewers when we submit a manuscript, but can we freely suggest without any restriction? Or is there a designated pool of reviewers to select from in each journal?
Journals often urge authors to submit the names of preferred peer reviewers along with their manuscripts. One reason for this is that editors wish to hasten the publication process since it is difficult to find reviewers who would agree to review manuscripts and abide by the journal timelines. Another reason is that in specialized fields, authors are more capable of suggesting reviewers who have the capability of analyzing their research and do not have a competing interest.
Generally speaking, authors are not bound to suggest reviewers from a particular pool of reviewers designated by the journal. But you must make sure that the suggested reviewers have the expertise to review all aspects of your paper and there is no conflict of interest involved. Also, refrain from suggesting reviewers simply because they would give favorable comments on your manuscript; this is a highly unethical practice.
Moreover, authors can only suggest names of potential reviewers. It is completely up to the editor’s discretion whether he/she selects the suggested reviewers or not. In practice, a lot of editors find it convenient to select author-nominated reviewers, although this cannot be guaranteed.