This is the third of a three post series focused on peer review hosted by Publishing and Repository Services and the Research Commons to celebrate the 3rd annual Peer Review Week. The first post reflected on editing the open peer review journal, Empirical Musicology Review. The second post discussed the interdisciplinary, moderated, and peer-reviewed Latinx Talk, published by The Ohio State University Libraries. Our third in the series talks about tracking peer review participation using the web service Publons.
Peer review is an important part of the academic publishing process. As the production of new knowledge and the number of journals and journal submissions grows, finding and cultivating peer reviewers takes on a greater urgency while time-pressed researchers may be reluctant to participate in an activity that often only counts as service when it comes to promotion and tenure. Publons (publons.com) is a web service, established in 2013, whose “mission is to speed up research by harnessing the power of peer review.” They attempt to do this by providing a way for researchers to track and demonstrate their reviewing work, by offering online training for new peer reviewers, and by helping journal editors and potential reviewers to connect.
Publons profiles allow researchers to display their reviewing and editorial work without compromising reviewer anonymity or journal policies. Unless allowed by the journal and author, reviews are noted only by journal name and year. Publons verifies that the reviews were done through automatic linkages with partner publishers (such as Wiley, Springer Nature, Sage, and Taylor & Francis) or by the author providing acknowledgement emails from editors that will be verified with the editor. The idea is that getting credit for reviewing work may encourage researchers to volunteer for more reviews. Information about reviewing activity can be made public or private and can be linked to the researcher’s ORCID profile.
Another service is the Publons Academy, an online training course with ten modules consisting of videos (about ten minutes each) covering: how to dissect an article considering methodology, data, and results; how to structure your review and provide constructive feedback; ethical issues; the peer process from the reviewer and journal points of view, and the differences between pre- and post-publication reviews. Anyone can view the videos but to complete the course and receive an endorsement on the Publons profile you must complete several reviews and work with a supervisor who will provide guidance and feedback.
Finally, Publons provides a mechanism for you to search for journals in your area and let them know that you are interested in reviewing for them. Developing a strong track record of reviewing makes you more attractive to journal editors looking for peer reviewers in your field.
For more on Peer Review Week, including available webinars, visit the Peer Review Week activities page: https://peerreviewweek.wordpress.com/activities/
To learn more about the Libraries Publishing Program, visit the website: go.osu.edu/librarypublishing.