How it works
This page includes all the information we think you might need to understand how Publons works if you're a reviewer.
Simply click on one of the headings and all the relevant information will be revealed.
Add pre-publication reviews to Publons
Publons allows you to add reviews performed for journals or conferences to a public profile (with the privacy settings you choose) and have them verified to be used in promotion and funding applications.
There are four simple ways to populate your review record on Publons:
1. Add reviews performed for partnered journals
Reviews performed for partnered journals can be instantly added to your profile as you do them. Simply follow these steps:
- Check the box on the review submission form asking if you want to add a record of the review to Publons*
- Follow the link in the confirmation email we send you
- Done - the review record will be added to your profile subject to the [journal's privacy settings]Insert link.
We send you a confirmation email on purpose to make sure we never collect review records from people who accidentaly checked the box in the review submission form.
If you don't like the two-step process, you can turn on the 'Automatically add reviews from partnered journals" setting in your profile settings. With this setting enabled, you simply need to check the box in the review submission form and you're done!
* This option appears in the editorial management software the journal uses, such as ScholarOne or Editorial Manager.
2. Send review receipts to email@example.com
If you've reviewed for journals that are not yet partnered with Publons, you can still add verified records of those reviews to your profile.
- Search your inbox for any “Thank you for reviewing” emails that journal editors have sent you.
- Forward those emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
3. Enable auto-updates
Digging up old emails can take some time. So where we can, we’ll do the work for you! We work with our partners to look back at their review records for up to five years and update our users’ review history. Simply turn on the 'Automatically add reviews from partnered journals" setting in your profile settings and whenever we find a review, we'll add it to your profile and let you know.
4. Add reviews through the forms on the site.
See our Helpdesk for more Q&As about adding and verifying review records.
Verifying reviews means confirming that you actually performed the review. A green tick appears next to all verified reviews on your profile:
Verification is crititcal to turning your review efforts into a measurable research output that can be used as evidence of your previously hidden contributions to science and research.
We have a few methods for verifying reviews:
1. Automatic verification
When you review for one of our partnered journals, you elect to add the review to your Publons record from within the review software (e.g. ScholarOne manuscripts or Editorial manager). This means that the review is verified and added to your profile instantly.
2. Editor verification
For reviews added through the forms on our site or emailed to email@example.com, we check with the editor to confirm that you performed the review.
What Review Information is Displayed?
We've developed a comprehensive range of options to make sure you can track and verify all of your review efforts without ever infringing on journal policies, or compromising reviewer preferencs for anonymity or openness.
We call these attributes your Review Permissions and split them into two categories:
Your privacy setting determines how you are linked to the reviewed publication, its journal and the publisher.
Do not show this review on my profile
This review will never be displayed publicly other than to you.
Show publisher only
Only display the year of review and publisher's name on your profile. You will never be publicly linked to the journal or publication.
Only display the year of review and journal's name on your profile. You will never be publicly linked to the publication.
Show journal and article title
Display the month of review and a link to the publication on your profile. The publication will show you as a reviewer if you published the content of your review.
Your content setting determins what review content is publicly displayed on Publons.
Hide review content
The content of your review will never be publicly displayed.
Publish review content
The content of your review will be publicly displayed and discoverable if you also signed the review.
Default Review Permissions
When you sign up to Publons, your default review permission settings are configured as:
Hide review content
No matter what privacy settings are in place, we never display information about the manuscript until the manuscript has been published. Typically this means we require a DOI or a URL for the manuscript before reviews can be published or signed.
Publisher & Journal Review Policies
Some publishers require that you attain permission from the journal or the author before you publish or sign your name to your review(s). You can see any journal's policy here. If you wish to publish or sign your name to a review for a journal that restricts you from doing so, please contact your editor.
Until permission is granted, you can not reveal information that is restricted by the publisher/journal policy. For example:
A journal may restrict privacy to "Show journal"
If you elect to "Show journal and article title" but the journal has restricted privacy to "Show journal", the "Show journal" permission will be used when displaying your review.
An author or journal may disallow publishing of review content
If you elect to "Publish review content" but an author of the publication or the journal disallows publishing review content, the "Hide review content" permission will be used when displaying your review.
The Author's Preferences
As an author of a reviewed publication you can decide whether or not reviewers can publish the content of their reviews.
This will only affect reviews where both the reviewer has elected to publish the review's content and the journal's policy allows it.
You can set this on a per publication basis from your dashboard or across all your authored publications from your account settings page.
You only have control over whether a reviewer can publish review content. Whether or not a reviewer signs a review (i.e. has their name published as a reviewer of the manuscript) is decided by the reviewer and journal's policy.
Allow review content to be published
Review content will only be displayed if the journal's policy allows it and the reviewer has elected to do so.
Disallow review content from being published
Review content will not be displayed even if both the journal's policy allows it and the reviewer has elected to do so.
You can find journal or publisher policies (where these have been set) from the journal page.
Who owns the Review?
Unless you have signed a waiver, you own the copyright to your review. You can read more about this on our blog.
A Publons Score gives a quick insight to the general opinion of the Publons community on a manuscript. It is not intended to replace peer review but is an evaluation of the final submission or published paper. Each Publons account may score each paper only once.
Scoring is always completely anonymous and scores are not displayed until the manuscript has been published.
Scores help with comparing and filtering published articles giving a more meaningful indicator of an article's quality than indirect metrics, such as a Journal's Impact Factor.
A score is generated by selecting a number from 0-10 in two fields, these fields are Quality and Significance. Quality is intended to be a measure of the paper's methodology and rigor, while Significance is intended to denote the paper's novelty as well as relevance to its field and journal.
Add Post-publication Reviews to Publons
Some of the greatest advances in human knowledge and understanding comes from experts delving into research after publication to provide expert analysis, insight, context and recommendations for improvements.
Writing post-publication reviews is an effective way to demonstrate your expertise, connect with other reserachers in your field and improve your reviewing skills. Writing them on Publons also lets you bring your expertise to the attention of world class editors.
You can also use your Publons profile to cross-post post-publication reviews you've written elsewhere. Simply add them through the forms on the site. We don't currently offer a way to link them to their original place of publication but you can add a link within the review's content.
Earning Publons Merit
Pre-publication peer review is vital to enriching and safeguarding the quality and integrity of published research.
But some of the greatest advances in human knowledge and understanding comes from experts delving into research after publication to provide expert analysis, insight, context and recommendations for improvements.
That's why our merit system rewards more than simply reviewing for journals. Activities such as writing post-publication reviews of papers and scoring manuscripts on their quality and significance earn you 'Merit'.
This merit acts as a running total of your contributions and is calculated as follows:
- +1 merit for adding a review to Publons
- +2 merit for having a review verified
- +2 merit for publishing the content of a review
- +2 merit for scoring the quality and significance of a manuscript
- +1 merit for each endorsement your review receives on Publons
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:
The review assignment was completed within the time limits established by the editor.
The review was easily read and interpreted by the editor and authors.
Comments were constructive, relevant, and realistic.
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.
Assigning DOIs for your Reviews
Publons mints DOIs for reviews which have received at least two endorsements. You can see an example of such a review here.
Printable Review Record for your CV
We want to ensure you can use the evidence of your previously hidden peer review contributions when it matters.
If you want to showcase how often top journals rely on your expertise to peer review groundbreaking research in your field, simply download a summary of your verified review history and awards from your personal dashboard.
Synchronize your ORCID and Publons accounts
Publons partners with ORCID so you can easily synchronise your peer ORCID and Publons profiles. This means your publication and review history will show across both platforms and stay synced.
You can link ORCID to your Publons account from your Publons profile settings.
Adding your review record to your ORCID profile is simple:
Add your reviews to Publons
In your review settings, authorise Publons to add reviews to ORCID
On ORCID, every review is associated with a unique resolvable identifier that links back to a record on Publons. This allows the community to confirm the review has been verified and, if it’s an open review, allow them to read it too.
If you'd like to follow any activity surrounding your papers on Publons, you can add the papers to your Publications Dashboard. Once followed you can easily see if your papers have any reviews or scores on Publons.
You can follow others' papers as well!