Terms for humans

We asked our lawyers to keep our terms simple. Then we wrote this even simpler summary. We hope it helps but we're not lawyers so keep in mind that the binding terms are below.

  1. Publons is a registered company in New Zealand
  2. Your responsibilities:

    • When you add reviews to Publons

      • They must be your own work and you must have the right to add it to Publons
      • You're giving us a license to use the review (we use the CC BY 4.0 license)
      • You agree that we can do things like verify your reviews or suggest reviewer candidates to editors
    • Please don't scrape the site (you should use our API)
  3. Our responsibilities:

    • We'll do our best to maintain your anonymity whenever you request it
    • We'll give you the ability to opt out of having your reviews automatically added to your profile by publishers
    • There may be cases where we work with publishers to enforce anonymity or prevent the publishing of reviews
    • We're not responsible for what you say in your reviews

General Terms

  1. These Terms of Service apply to your dealings with Publons Limited (“Publons”, “we” or “us”) and your use of our website and systems from the date these are published.
  2. We reserve the right to change these Terms of Service from time to time and the Terms of Service published at the time of browsing shall be those in effect.
  3. These Terms of Service are governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of New Zealand. Any disputes arising will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts in New Zealand.

    What you agree to when using Publons

  4. By submitting reviews to us, you are granting Publons Limited (Publons) a licence to use the review. Unless otherwise stated, and subject to any express restrictions you or a third party place on such use the terms of such licence shall be in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (“CC BY 4.0”) as amended or replaced from time to time. You (or any other person holding copyright) will retain copyright, but this licence allows Publons to share, copy, distribute, transmit, adapt and make commercial use of the review throughout the world, in any media, without needing to provide additional permission, or to pay any royalties, provided appropriate attribution is made to the author or source.
  5. Publons may use the content of reviews and information about reviewers to generate derivative metadata for the benefit of Publons and you as a reviewer (without revealing what you have reviewed). For example, we may publicly verify your record as a reviewer, or we may help editors to identify candidate reviewers.
  6. Publons may generate revenue through the provision of its services, which in turn relies upon the submission of reviews from contributing reviewers.

  7. When you submit your review you promise that:

    1. You own or control the content of your review and it is your own original work;
    2. The content is not defamatory and does not infringe any applicable laws;
    3. The content is accurate, truthful and your own genuine opinion; and
    4. You will indemnify and hold harmless Publons for all damages, costs and expenses incurred for breach of these promises.
  8. When you submit your review you must ensure:

    1. It does not contain unlawful or objectionable content, ie you should not submit a review that contains words, language or content that is or may be considered unlawful, defamatory, libellous, abusive, racially or sexually offensive or obscene;
    2. It reflects your original and independent effort, and does not infringe the intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights of others (including breach of copyright, trademark, privacy or trade secrets);
    3. It does not contain viruses, worms, Trojan horses, cross-site scripting attacks (XSS), or other computer program that may damage or affect any system or data;
    4. It does not contain commercial web or e-mail addresses or any promotional or advertising material of any kind (no spam); and
    5. You do not use false e-mail addresses, impersonate others or in any way mislead as to your identity.

Misuse of service

  1. Users must not misuse the Publons service. Misuse of the Publons service includes (but is not limited to):

    1. Submitting content that is inaccurate, untruthful or known not to be your own genuine opinion;
    2. Submitting content which is unlawful, defamatory, libellous, abusive, discriminatory or obscene;
    3. Impersonating any person or entity;
    4. Misrepresenting your affiliation with any person or entity;
    5. Undertaking activity using the Publons service with the purpose of solely raising your own profile at the expense of sincerely-added, constructive and valuable content or actions.
    6. Searching for reviewers or editors and contacting them outside of our official and trusted channels.

What we agree to when providing our services to you

  1. Publons will respect reviewers’ request to submit reviews on an anonymous basis and will use its best endeavours to keep private and confidential any information submitted to Publons on this express basis and in accordance with our privacy policy.
  2. We will do our best to verify that reviews are correct. We use a variety of methods to verify reviews, which represent best practice, but we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all reviews published by Publons.
  3. We sometimes partner with third parties such as publishers to automatically transfer your reviews and personally identifying information to Publons. This makes it easier for you to build your reviewer profile. In those cases we will provide you with the option to “opt out” should you not wish to use this feature.
  4. Publons reserves the right not to publish reviews, to amend content of reviews at any time and to remove reviews from this website without notice after publication at Publons’ sole discretion. There may be cases where we agree with publishers to hide review content and ensure your review remains “blind”. In those cases we will clearly state why the content is not shown.
  5. Publication of reviews and other content on the website does not signify that Publons agrees or affirms with the views and content given.
  6. We do not agree to third parties scraping Publons’ website or using other tools to collect review and/or reviewer data without Publons’ prior written consent. The correct way to access these data is via our API. Please contact us at api@publons.com to discuss access.
  7. Publons shall not be in any way responsible or liable for reliance by third parties on any information contained within reviews submitted, and Publons does not make any representation or warranty, either express or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of any information or content contained within reviews. Publication of reviews does not signify that Publons agrees with the views and content given.
  8. The views contained within reviews are the reviewers’ own and Publons publishes reviews in good faith if they otherwise appear to comply with these Terms of Service.

Publons Privacy Notice

1. Scope

This Privacy Notice describes how Publons (“Publons”, “we”, “us” and “our”) collects, uses, shares, secures, and eventually disposes of (collectively “processes”) your personal data. Personal data is any information that does, or could, identify you. Your rights over your personal data are set out in Section 9 - Your Rights and Choices.

This Privacy Notice applies to personal data collected by our websites, apps, and products (collectively “services”) and in the course of routine offline business contacts with you. This Notice is addressed primarily to users of Publons services and Publons sales prospects.

This Notice does not cover the content of any reviews you may submit, please see our Terms of Service in relation to those.

Publons is part of Clarivate Analytics. This Privacy Policy does not apply to other Clarivate Analytics services that have separate privacy policies.

2. Changes to the privacy notice

We will update this Notice from time to time and will communicate material changes to you before they become effective by the best means available to us (for example, by e-mail or via a notice on our website and in our services).

3. Data collected

Publons collects personal data in the following ways:

  • Data that you provide to us
    We collect personal data directly from you, for example, the contact information and log-in credentials that we use to provide our services to you, and the professional profile details that you choose to enter into our products. If you seek help with technical issues, you may share information about your devices with us, such as their operating system and installed programs.
  • Data about you that we obtain elsewhere
    • We obtain product usage information through your use of our services, for example your reviewing volume and turnaround time (see Section 4 - Purposes of Processing).
    • We obtain information that you allow us to collect from others, such as your reviewing record with a publisher, and information you may submit to other Clarivate services such as ScholarOne, EndNote, or Web of Science.
    • We may acquire marketing lists from third parties to identify prospects for our services (see Section 9 - Your Rights and Choices for information on managing your marketing preferences).
  • Data that we collect via standard online technologies
    Like most websites, we use a variety of cookies and web beacons to collect information about visitors to the Publons website. You can read more about how we use cookies and web beacons in our Cookies Policy.
  • Third-party websites
    Our services may contain links to third-party websites. We are not responsible for the privacy practices of those sites.

4. Purposes of processing

We process personal data for the purposes listed below. Your relationship with Publons will determine which purposes apply to you.

Customer and product administration
To provide you with our services, we use personal data to create your Publons.com account, provide user and technical support, enforce our terms of business, contact you about renewal of your subscriptions, and other related administrative tasks.

Personalize product functionality
We use your personal data to deliver personalized functionality in our services, such as your saved searches or a professional profile that you maintain with us.

Product development
We analyze product usage data to inform our product development process, for example to understand which content and tools are most useful for our users. Your product usage information is usually aggregated or “pseudonymized” (delinked from you as an individual).

We will send you marketing messages for Publons and Clarivate products that may interest you (see Section 9 - Your Rights and Choices for information on managing your marketing preferences). We do not disclose your contact information to third parties for their marketing purposes.

Providing services to third parties
We process your personal data in connection with services we provide to academic publishers and institutions; for example, we may process contact information, profile information, and website activity to connect journals to potential reviewers.

EU GDPR Article 6 (lawfulness of processing) information

For individuals in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, pursuant to Article 6 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we process your personal data on the following legal bases:

Purpose of processing

Legal basis of processing

Customer and product administration

To fulfill our contractual obligations to you, or because we have a legitimate interest in, for example, providing our services to our customers’ organizations or enforcing our terms of business.

Personalized product functionality

To fulfill our contractual obligations to you, or because we have a legitimate interest in providing the service functionalities required by our customers and users.

Product development and debugging

Our legitimate interest in assessing and improving our services.


Either your consent or, if you are an existing customer, because we have a legitimate interest in keeping you advised of new services.

Providing services to third parties

To fulfill our contract with you.

5. Recipients of the Data

Your personal data will, depending on the purposes of processing, be disclosed to different individuals and organizations, including:

  • Our employees and contractors whose roles require access to your data. Publons personnel are bound to confidentiality terms which cover their obligations to protect personal data.
  • Other divisions (“affiliates”) of Clarivate Analytics that provide support for our services and business.
  • Publons suppliers who process personal data on our behalf (“processors”); for example, Cloud computing providers and web analytics services like Google Analytics. Such vendors are contractually bound to protect your data to the same standard as set out in this Notice.
  • Your data may be transferred to a third party as a result of any merger, acquisition, or similar corporate event involving Publons.
  • We will disclose your personal data when required to by law.

6. Data security

Publons maintains appropriate administrative, technical, and physical security measures to protect your personal data from accidental loss and unauthorized access or use. These measures include encryption, firewalls, roles-based data access, intrusion-detection software, and physical access controls to data centers. However, we cannot guarantee that loss, misuse, unauthorized acquisition, or alteration of your data will never occur.

7. Data Retention

We store your personal data throughout the period of your relationship with us and retain it for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes for which we collected it, including for the purposes of satisfying legal, accounting, or reporting obligations or to resolve disputes. For more information on how long we store your data, please contact us at data.privacy@clarivate.com.

8. International Transfer

Publons and Clarivate are global businesses, and your data will be transferred to countries with different privacy and data protection laws than your own, including to countries, such as the United States, that the European Commission considers not to have adequate data protection laws.

We protect our transfers from the European Economic Area with legal safeguards that include: (1) the existence of a European Commission adequacy decision (covering, for example, transfers to Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland); (2) Clarivate’s Intra-Group Agreement incorporating Standard Contractual Clauses approved by the European Commission; (3) Standard Contractual Clauses and other contract terms executed between Publons or Clarivate and a third-party data processor; (4) a third-party processor’s certification under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.

9. Your rights and choices

You may at any time ask for access to the data that we hold about you, and request its correction or erasure, or that we cease to process it (see Section 10 - Contact Us). For further information on European data protection rights, including your right to lodge a complaint with your supervisory authority, and your right to withdraw your consent to the processing of your data, visit our European Data Protection Rights page.

Within Publons.com, you can make privacy-related choices, for example whether to allow others to see your reviewer statistics; whether you wish your reviews to remain anonymous; and whether you wish to be contacted by publishers with requests to review.

Marketing: We would like to send you marketing communications, for example event invitations, white papers, and information about our services that may interest you. We will obtain your prior consent when your local law requires it.

You can opt out of our marketing communications at any time - all Clarivate marketing e-mails contain an “unsubscribe” link. If you have questions regarding our use of your information for marketing purposes, please contact the Clarivate Marketing Team.

10. Contact us


Friars House
160 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8EZ
United Kingdom

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Review & Commenting Guidelines

We want to build a community that is:

  • Constructive -- your contributions push the sphere of human knowledge forward;
  • Positive -- your contributions are focused around improving research, not tearing it down: and
  • Reliable - your contributions to the site are yours and provided in good faith.

With that in mind, we’ve developed the following principles:

  1. Post-publication reviews (PPRs) and comments are to be based around the research or reviews in question. Reviews and comments gratuitously aimed at individuals or groups are not acceptable.
  2. Post-publication reviews should be written by you. Plagiarism, whereby you present someone else's work or ideas as your own without full acknowledgment, is unacceptable.
  3. Do not copy and paste large sections of content from other places unless it is your own work (from your blog, for example). In these cases, please add a link to the original content. See this review as a guide.
  4. Comments solely stating that a paper is of good or poor quality is not a post-publication review. Post-publication reviews and comments should aim to provide insight, context and constructive feedback in the hope of progressing research and understanding in the field.
  5. Scrutiny and criticisms should be focused on the research, evidence-based (with citations), constructive and include recommendations for improving the work / future research.
  6. When signing PPRs and comments, ensure you have a completed profile (profile picture, bio and affiliations and linked ORCID ID) so readers can see your credentials and place your reviews or comments in context.
  7. Avoid overly emotional language (positive or negative) where possible.
  8. Where practicable, we will contact parties that are in breach of the guidelines and provide an opportunity for content to be amended. Where content is considered to be beyond reproach, it may be removed without prior warning. We will always notify the author of content that has been removed.
  9. Publons Community Managers periodically check the content of reviews and comments for material breaches of the guidelines.
  10. We invite users to report instances where they believe these guidelines have been breached by emailing info@publons.com , linking to the relevant review or comment and outlining how the content is in breach of the guidelines.
  11. Please do not include a link to any blog or website that is outside the scope of your review or the study itself. This includes any site connected to a campaign or movement with a political or social agenda.
  12. Please do not include advertising for commercial products or services of all kinds.
  13. Disclose conflicts of interest

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