For the first time ever, we're giving researchers the ability to build a portfolio of their pre-publication ('pre-pub') peer review work, and journals the ability to prove the quality of their peer reviews.
Says founder and CEO Dr Andrew Preston, "We believe that peer review is a crucial part of the scientific process, and we want to do everything we can to help ensure peer review, and the reviewers who carry it out, get credit for the important work they do".
Pre-publication peer review
Until now, peer review at Publons has all been all post-publication and open access, allowing people to comment on, discuss and review papers already published in the academic literature. Reviews which are 'endorsed' on the site gain their own DOI, becoming citable objects in their own right - a world first.
Now, however, reviewers can also record their pre-publication review work.
We understand that most pre-pub peer reviews are not for general eyes. As a result, these peer reviews will not, for the most part, be published. Instead, the existing types of pre-publication peer review - including closed, blind and double-blind - will be maintained. The difference is that reviewers can now upload and show a record of their pre-publication work.
Of course, there's another side to this - journals can also validate their pre-pub peer review through us. This has to major benefits:
- It will enable journals (both open access and paywalled) to prove the quality of the peer reviews behind their published papers. Journals have borne the brunt of numerous recent attacks - remember the recent Science 'sting'? - calling the quality of their pre-pub peer review quality into question by showing that the journals publish dodgy papers. Validating these reviews through us will ensure a high standard of quality is maintained, and can be proven.
- Because pre-pub reviews can be validated, researchers will be able to use them as an official part of their resumé; especially useful in hiring and promotion decisions.
The MacDiarmid Institute has come on board as a partner, and is considering the use of the Publons platform as the source of record for academic peer review reporting when used in hiring and promotion decisions. Other organisations have expressed interest and are poised to come onboard.
Additionally, a number of early adopters have already uploaded their pre-pub peer review work into our system, and we're pulling PeerJ reviews in, too!
Why use Publons?
A lot of information about science and scientific papers is essentially wasted, says Preston. "Colleagues talk to each other in tea rooms and at conferences about the quality and significance of specific studies, but that information doesn't spread into the wider world."
By opening up peer review and the peer review process, he believes that the quality of research will improve, and science will be able to advance at a faster rate.
Pre-publication reviewers will get credit for their work, providing positive incentives to produce high quality reviews, and giving journal editors a large pool of excellent reviewers.
Post-publication reviews will no longer need to spend months or years working their way through the literature, but will instead become part of an ongoing conversation immediately available and accessible to anyone, anywhere.
The benefits of both will be to everyone - researchers, journals, the public, and science in general.
We're super excited about all this, and can't wait to hear what you think of it! Please do get in touch with any comments, questions and feedback you have - it's all incredibly valuable for us!
Still have questions? Check out our media release.
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