Acknowledging the Essential Role of Peer Reviewers

Acknowledging the Essential Role of Peer Reviewers
Peer reviews are vital for maintaining high standards in academic and scientific publication, and many scholars invest a great deal of time in reviewing the articles submitted to journals and offering commentary to improve those articles prior to publication. However, this significant contribution to knowledge is rarely recognised in the way that research articles or even post-publication reviews are. The team at Publons, a new online service for reviewers (as well as authors, editors, journals, universities and funding bodies), is seeking to remedy this situation by giving credit where credit is due: http://bit.ly/1RmMEeA.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Published
Publons allows reviewers to record, showcase and verify their peer-reviewing activities, with the goal being ‘to turn peer review into a measurable research output’ that can be included on CVs to demonstrate expertise in specific areas of study and benefit dedicated reviewers when they apply for jobs, promotions and research funding. Each reviewer is provided with a profile in which to list his or her reviewing activities, and reviews can be verified by providing Publons with review receipts (email messages from journal editors, for instance, thanking the reviewer for his or her work), having Publons directly contact journal editors for verification or using automatic verification via Publons’s partnerships with specific journals. The reviewer controls how each pre-publication review appears in his or her profile – blind, double-blind, closed or open – and the policies of journals are respected, with default settings for privacy available. Post-publication reviews and discussions of articles are published on the site and are open access for all to read, share, download, cite and publish, with any review that earns sufficient endorsement from users receiving its own doi (digital object identifier).

Reviewers receive merits for their activities on Publons, the details of which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1VfDYq9, and reviewers with the most merits are rewarded quarterly with online services (such as Amazon Web Services, Mendeley and PeerJ) designed to enable scholars to conduct their research more efficiently (for more information, see http://bit.ly/1U9qCNl). Open reviews earn more merits than closed ones, but Publons is always free for reviewers and all activities are acknowledged and rewarded. Editors of journals partnered with Publons can use the editorial dashboard to find, screen and contact suitable reviewers for the articles submitted to them, so reviewers on Publons may experience an increase in review requests and thus further opportunities to improve their peer-review profiles.

In terms of the larger picture, Publons aims not only to give reviewers appropriate credit for their intellectual work and highlight the essential role of the peer-review process, but also ‘to speed up science by making peer review faster, more efficient, and more effective.’ Such admirable ideals make Publons well worth careful consideration for any academic or scientist who dedicates valuable time to peer reviewing articles for his or her scholarly community.

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