Is the lack of reviewer recognition putting research at risk?

Publons co-founder Andrew Preston outlines the online tools’ new initiative to better support reviewer recognition. Giving better recognition to reviewers and highlighting their expertise, Publons state, could have a very positive impact on the world of scholarly research.

Peer review plays a critical role in our ability to trust and understand research. A good peer review process is the first step towards high quality and reproducible literature.

At Publons, we believe that review and editorial contributions are seriously undervalued and that it is putting research at undue risk. Reviewers don’t receive nearly enough support or recognition from their colleagues, supervisors, and the wider community. This means there is minimal incentive to review and review well. Combined with mounting pressure to publish, it’s no surprise editors are finding it harder and harder to recruit the experts needed to efficiently and effectively review increasing research submissions. Simply put, failure to adequately recognise review is slowing down scholarly communication.

This is why we have built the following:

  • An easy way to get recognition for, and collect evidence of, your expert reviewing contributions to further your career. Before Publons, it was impossible to build a verified record of your reviews. Now it is a simple process that takes minutes, no matter which journal you review for, but particularly when you review for journals at partner publishers like SAGE Publishing.
  • A community of reviewers and editors. More than 130,000 reviewers and editors are now using Publons to get recognition for their work, to learn from other reviews, to connect with each other, and to keep up to speed with developments of manuscripts they’ve reviewed after publication.
  • The Publons Academy, an online course designed by expert reviewers and editors that teaches how to review, makes it easy to get feedback and a formal endorsement from your supervisor, and connects you with editors at top journals so you can get off to a fast start with your review career.

Our goal is always to help reviewers to highlight their expertise and use it to advance their careers: for early career researchers, it is about learning how to publish and becoming a reviewer; at the mid-stage, top reviewers become editors; while throughout your career, having evidence and recognition of your work is critical in performance reviews and funding applications.

The importance of this mission cannot be understated. An inefficient review process slows progress in research literature to a crawl, invites fraud, and will continue to deliver more unreproducible work. Publons and SAGE are harnessing the power of great peer review to solve help these problems.

Find out more about how you can get credit for your reviews with Publons here and read more about how SAGE are working with Publons to support this initiative here.

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