500 reviews for eLife have been recorded on Publons

In May 2015, we started to encourage our editors and reviewers to use Publons, and there has been healthy interest in this service, with more than 500 peer reviews for eLife now recorded.
Inside eLife
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Publons helps researchers receive recognition for their reviews: reviewers can list the number of reviews completed, the journals they’ve reviewed for, identify reviews for published papers, and, where permitted, upload the content of their reviews. Publons also offers reviewers the ability to transfer their peer-review contributions directly to their ORCID iD, reducing the burden of maintaining records across different platforms.

Most eLife reviewers who use Publons simply list the number of reviews completed, but some reviewers, including David Matus, who reviewed the article “The beetle amnion and serosa functionally interact as apposed epithelia” also choose to identify the article, if it is accepted for publication.

To provide greater transparency in the review process, we publish the most substantive points from the decision letter after review and we list the reviewer names, where the reviewers agree for us to do so. As an extension of this openness, it is also possible for reviewers at eLife to upload their individual reviews to Publons for the papers we publish. Mehdi Rashighi has done so for the eLife article “Sex steroids regulate skin pigmentation through nonclassical membrane-bound receptors” because he believes that “the review process should be transparent and open to the scrutiny of not only the authors, but also the public, [and] that reviewers should be made accountable for their reviews, in the same way that the authors are responsible for the integrity of their manuscripts.” He also notes, “platforms like Publons give the reviewers the credit for their contributions in improving the quality of the journals.”

We are keenly aware of the burden that new platforms can add to a researcher’s workload. Therefore, we collaborate with other service providers to encourage and promote cross-platform support. For example, all reviewers with an ORCID iD can automatically transfer their review contributions from Publons to ORCID. Max Nachury, who has listed reviewing activity for more than 20 journals, including four reviews for eLife, has made use of the ability to transfer these records directly to his ORCID iD. On the benefit and ease of maintaining these records, Max told us, “I like ORCID as more publishing and other scientific sites have started using it. I hope that all the reviewing sites use it. Publons provides me with personal accountability: I can go on their website and I immediately know how much I have been reviewing.”

Reviewers with an ORCID iD and a Publons profile can click on their profile picture in Publons, in the top right-hand corner and select the “Settings” option. Under the “Reviews” tab, they can then opt in by clicking the box “Authorise Publons to add reviews to ORCID”. In addition, to help reviewers who have an ORCID iD but do not yet use Publons, we can now send information about their peer-review contributions for eLife directly to ORCID.

In the period May 2016–July 2016, 5% of reviewers for papers being evaluated by eLife added reviews to a Publons profile (97 reviewers out of 1927 in total). We very much appreciate the support of all our reviewers and we thank those who are already using Publons to record their contributions. Reviewers can register for a Publons profile at publons.com and for an ORCID iD at orcid.org.