How it works
For Editors

This page includes all the information we think you might need to understand how Publons works if you're an editor. Simply click on one of the headings and all the relevant information will be revealed.

If there's anything missing, don't hesitate to get in touch and let us know.


How does Publons work?

Publons collects information about peer reviews and builds public reviewer profiles for participating reviewers. A Publons profile shows a researcher’s verified review history across all journals, without revealing any sensitive information about the manuscript.

Reviewer profile
Image: Example reviewer profile

Reviews are added to Publons in two ways, depending on whether or not the reviewer’s journal is an official partner of Publons.

Reviews performed for partnered journals are added automatically via the journals editorial management software.

For other journals, reviewers add the information themselves -- usually by forwarding the “Thank you for reviewing” emails to as proof. Publons verifies the emails and adds the review records to the reviewer’s profile.

What review information is displayed?

By default, review records show only the journal and year of the review to protect reviewer anonymity. Journals can set permissions to specify exactly what information reviewers can publicly display about a review. Some give reviewers the option to reveal the manuscript title after the manuscript is published, for instance.

Where do editors fit in?

Editors do not need to change their editorial workflow to benefit from Publons. Our pilots show that providing recognition to reviewers increases review invitation acceptance rates and decreases review turnaround time, making editors’ lives easier.

Editors are also welcome to sign up at any time to use Publons to improve the efficiency of their editorial activities, even if their journal has not yet partnered with Publons. With Publons, editors can record the details of papers edited for any journal -- in one place. Likewise, they can keep track of all reviewers they've worked with -- independent of the journals they reviewed for.

Editorial tasks that Publons can help with include:

  • Finding new reviewers. Editors can browse over 110,000 reviewer profiles, organised in 26 research fields and 330 sub-disciplines.
  • Assessing suitability of unfamiliar reviewers. Look up a particular reviewer to see their level of review experience, the other journals they tend to review for, and stats about their reviewing characteristics.
  • Screen reviewer email addresses against fraud. Use the Reviewer Screening tool to query the Publons database for an unfamiliar reviewer’s email address to see whether or not the email address has been used when publishing or peer reviewing before.

As it is for reviewers, participating in Publons is completely optional for editors.

My journal is partnered with Publons. What does this mean?

Everything you need to know about what a journal's partnership with Publons means for you as an editor is in our downloadable Editors Guide to the Partner Dashboard and Publons Overview for Editors.

You can also watch our video demo of the workflow for reviewers below:

Officially partnering with Publons also means editors can gain access to the Partner Dashboard (see below).

Gaining access to the Partner Dashboard

For editors of officially integrated journals, your journal administrator can give you access to the Partner Dashboard. The dashboard gives insight into the review activity of the journal, allowing editors and journal adminisrators to:

  • Monitor the engagement of your reviewer pool on Publons
  • Receive suggestions for reviewers who are yet to review for your journal but are suitable to do so
  • See the geographic and institutional demographics of your reviewers
  • See which other journals your reviewers are most frequently reviewing for.

To gain access to the dashboard, you will need to sign up and contact your journal's designated Publons administrator.

I have received an email asking me to verify a review. What do I do?

There are times when reviewers may no longer have the "review receipt" for a review they've performed but would still like to have the review verified on Publons.

In these rare cases we email the journal editor on the reviewers behalf and ask them to confirm or disavow that the review was performed for their journal.

You can stop receiveing these requests at any time by following the Unsubscribe link in the email we send you. Integrated journals also have the option to verify or disavow reviews directly from their dashboard.

This process is automated for journals that integrate with Publons.

Editorial Board Memberships

Publons offers you the option to display your Editorial Board Memberships on your profile. These can be added via your account settings.

editorial board membership

Those contributions which you mark as current will be displayed on your profile. You're free to add past affiliations as well, simply don't mark them as current.

Note that partnered journals reserve the right to remove editorial contributions they believe to be incorrect.

Keep Track of my Editorial Contributions

Publons lets you keep a verfied record of every manuscript you handle as an editor, so your editorial contributions don't go unnoticed.

There are two ways to add editorial records to your Publons profile:

  1. Forward your Editorial receipts ("Decision has been made" emails) to We verify the receipts and add the records to your profile! Editorial receipts can also be in form of editorial management system screenshots with a list of your editorial contributions. Please note that Editorial receipts are any email sent during the editorial process that adequately identify you as the handling editor of the paper. Note that this does not include invitations or acceptance of invitations to edit a paper. These receipts must contain the journal and title of the paper.

    2. Fill in the manuscripts's details from your dashboard.

    We currently support editorial records for manuscripts submitted to journals or conferences. For every editorial record you add, you will earn editor merit.

Giving Reviewers Recognition

Once you've added an editorial record, you can invite the reviewers of that paper to add a record of the review to their Publons profile.

To invite reviewers, click on the "Actions" column of your editorial history tab. We email the reviewers, invite them to join Publons and then add a verified record of the review to their profile. Reviewers who are recognised for their work are happy reviewers!

Giving Reviewers Feedback

Reviewers have told us they want to improve and crave feedback from editors about the quality of their reviews.

When you add records of the manuscripts you've handled to Publons you can also provide written feedback to the reviewers. The feedback remains private between you and the reviewer, but is an effective way to help reviewers improve their reviewing skills.

Excellent Reviews

Not all reviews are equal. Some reviews are so good they help the author(s) to advance their work and the editor to make an informed and timely publishing decision. These kinds of reviews help deliver breakthrough, verified research to the world faster.

Editors can now rate the quality of reviews, on a four-point scale, across four dimensions, per the screenshot below:

excellent reviews

  • Timeliness:
    The review assignment was completed within the time limits established by the editor.

  • Clarity:
    The review was easily read and interpreted by the editor and authors.

  • Helpfulness:
    Comments were constructive, relevant, and realistic.

  • Thoroughness:
    The review gave adequate consideration to all aspects of the paper including methodology, figures, interpretation and presentation of results, ethics, relevance, etc.

A review is deemed 'Excellent' if it receives a score of 9 or more out of a possible 12.

Poor = 0 point Below Average = 1 points Average = 2 points Exceptional = 3 points

Excellent reviews receive a gold star on the reviewers profile and are an indicator of where reviewers have gone above and beyond.

The only information made public is where a review is deemed "Excellent".

NOTE: Scored reviews which do not meet the requirements for excellence will not be indicated on your profile or any other public part of the site.

Exact scores are completely confidential. Written feedback is privileged between the editor and reviewer.

For more information about the "Excellent Reviews" feature, see our blog post.

Editor Merit

When you add editorial records to Publons you accumulate editor merit points.

Editor merit is a reflection of your editorial contributions in your field. Each editorial record starts with a base merit of 1, with additional merit awarded as follows:

  • +1 merit for giving recognition to a reviewer
  • +1 merit for providing feedback to a reviewer
  • +1 merit for scoring the quality and significance of the manuscript
  • +1 merit for each post-publication review of the manuscript on Publons You can add your editor records and give recognition to your reviewers from the 'Editorial History' section of your dashboard.