Sentinel Award

For outstanding advocacy, innovation or contribution to scholarly peer review.

Providing recognition to the heroes on the frontlines of peer review is at the very heart of what Publons does. We know there are people all over the world working tirelessly to champion, innovate and improve peer review to ensure sound research is communicated to the world.

That's why we've assembled a panel of highly respected thought leaders from across the academic publishing community to determine the recipient of the first ever Sentinel Award.

The award recognizes an individual, group or organization that has gone above and beyond to advocate for, innovate or improve peer review. We'll announce the finalists shortly and the winner will be announced on Tueday 19 September following the Peer Review Celebrations the week prior.

Make sure to check out the rest of our Peer Review Awards too.



Andrew Preston is the co-founder and Managing Director of Publons. He was an active researcher in physics, first as a PhD student at Victoria University of Wellington, then as postdoctoral researcher at Boston University. He founded Publons with a mission to speed up research by improving peer review. Publons recognises reviewers for their work and -- with more than 190,000 researchers and over 1,500 partner journals -- is the world’s largest peer review platform.

Tessa Picknett is Executive Director, Editorial STM Journals, UK.

Tessa joined SAGE Publishing as STM Publisher in March 2006. After three years research in Material Science and a first class BSc in Life Sciences, Tessa completed a PhD in Molecular Genetics, followed by Post-Doctoral fellowships at Barts Hospital and Imperial College. Her publishing career began at Saunders Scientific Publications, a newly created division of W.B. Saunders, and over the following 16 years, she held positions at Academic Press, and Harcourt, which was finally merged with Elsevier in 2000. Her last role at Elsevier was as Senior Publisher responsible for a high profile list of books and journals in biomedicine.

Her present role at SAGE is Executive Director, Editorial STM Journals, where she leads a team encompassing both Editorial and Commercial Sales, responsible for over 300 journals in Medicine, the Life Sciences, and Materials Science & Engineering. Many of the journals in the portfolio are published on behalf of key society partners, including three prestigious journals that chose to move to SAGE during 2007. A strong launch programme, including the Therapeutic Advances series contributes to a rich and rapidly growing portfolio.

"Peer review is the linchpin of the scientific process, and lies at the heart of the scholarly communication ecosystem. Despite its imperfections, it is as important as ever, and overwhelmingly valued by the scientific community. Its role in filtering, assessing and improving research outputs, through critical review by expert peers materially enhances the scientific output that goes on to gain a place in the academic record and helps to build individuals reputations. It plays a fundamental role in terms of the community’s ability to trust and rely on that content, and to build further on those ideas and results. It goes a long way to ensuring validity, methodological soundness, reproducibility, and often clarity, statistical accuracy and relevance of conclusions. Fundamentally, the fact that it has endured – and is now taking place in increasingly diverse and innovative ways – is testament to the extraordinary collaborative spirit of the scientific endeavour. It's wonderful that the Sentinels of Science awards celebrate and recognise these efforts"

Alice Meadows is Director of Community Engagement & Support for ORCID, after holding a variety of senior marketing and communications roles at Blackwell and Wiley. She is one of the founders of Peer Review Week and has written and spoken widely on the topic - as well as on scholarly communications issues more generally. Alice is a member of the Society for Scholarly Publishing Board, a regular contributor to The Scholarly Kitchen blog, and recipient of the 2016 Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers award for contribution to scholarly publishing.

Disclaimer: ORCiD has been nominated for the Sentinel Award by another judge. Accordingly, Alice has refrained from voting for ORCiD to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

Stephanie Dawson, CEO ScienceOpen, grew up in northern California, studied Biology at Yale University and received a PhD in German Literature from the University of Washington. She spent over 10 years at the academic publisher De Gruyter in Berlin in the fields of biology and chemistry in both journals and book publishing. 2013 she joined ScienceOpen as managing director.

Phil Hurst is Publisher at the Royal Society. He is responsible for developing high quality and innovative publishing services to meet the needs of both researchers and science. This has included the recent launch of the innovative journal, Royal Society Open Science. He has pioneered open peer review at the Society, is on the Peer Review Week organising committee and a participant in PEERE project.

"In the digital age, the potential of peer review has never been greater. In the future, open journal peer review reports might be used as evidence for policy makers, as a communication tool to the public and as valid research output in awarding grants and tenure."

Nicko Goncharoff Nicko Goncharoff is Chief Business Development Officer at Digital Science, a UK firm developing software to make research more efficient, measurable and accessible. He is responsible for the overall relationship between Digital Science and the publishing industry. Nicko is one of the original team members at Digital Science, having joined in early 2010 with the sale to Macmillan of his text-mining startup SureChem.

In addition to his work at Digital Science, Nicko has served as chairman of the STM Reference Group on Scholarly Collaborative Networks, a cross-publisher effort to identify practices and policies for enabling sustainable article sharing between publishers, SCNs, institutions and other stakeholders in scholarly research and communication.

"Peer review is so critical to scholarly research and therefore scientific and social progress. Yet the work of reviewers goes largely unrecognised when considering the impact and contribution of individual researchers or entire institutions. The Sentinel Award will hopefully be another step toward getting the research community to more formally assess and acknowledge the value of reviews and reviewers."


Nicole Nogoy has a PhD in Natural Sciences (Cardiovascular Molecular Medicine) from the University of Goettingen, Germany and obtained her BSc Hons in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Physiology from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Nicole has over a decade of experience in the STM publishing industry – most notably having launched and been Managing Editor of Genome Medicine, as well as the Commissioning Editor of several review journals for the Future Science Group. Nicole is now Editor with GigaScience having joined the team in 2012. She is also an Open Science, Open Data and reproducible research advocate.

"Peer review is a crucial step in the scholarly publishing process, and it is important to acknowledge exceptional peer reviewers or those revolutionizing and improving the peer review process"