One hallmark of being recognized as an expert in your field is receiving invitations to peer-review the manuscripts of authors also in your area of specialization. I started denying myself those peer review opportunities in January 2019.
With one caveat.
That I can do one peer review only after I submit a manuscript for publication and match one peer review with one publication. I can therefore, do a peer review only after I submit my first manuscript for the year. And, I can only do one peer review service for each manuscript submission. If I submit only two manuscripts then I can only provide two peer review services for the year.
Regardless of what others may think, providing a critical peer-review for an unknown colleague can be a hard job. A peer review service may include assessing the element of originality or impact of the manuscript, the methodological rigor, and whether the conclusions drawn are valid ones. The peer review process may involve at most a technical assessment. However, you may act as a developmental editor and recommend changes to the structure of the manuscript, or a copy editor where you help you unknown colleague tighten the clarity of sentences. It is in effect, a writing opportunity as well.
However, I strongly believe that you cannot be called an expert in a field if you are not publishing regularly in that field. Because publishing requires you to read and observe trends in your field.
So how can you guide someone else’s work and critically evaluate it if you are not observing the trends?
But, at the same time, the peer-review process helps you, the reviewer, to observe new possible trends. New developments in your field may spur your thinking and could result in much needed changes in sometimes a stagnant research agenda.
My recommendation, at least for myself, is to have a balance between submitting and publishing your own work, and providing your services as a peer-reviewer. My strategy is just to match one manuscript submission with one peer review service. You decide on how you will approach peer review opportunities. Remember to implement your decision and as always assess the result to determine if your rule to offer your peer review services best suits you.