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Publons: pre-publication peer review portfolio ability

Publons gives reviewers world-first ability to build pre-publication peer review portfolio

Wellington, December 9, 2013 - For the first time ever, open access peer review platform Publons is giving researchers the ability to build a portfolio of their pre-publication peer review work, and journals the ability to validate 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 the new release, peer review at Publons was 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.

With the update, however, reviewers can also record their pre-publication peer review work.

Pre-publication 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 will be able to show their activity in the academic community, and be given credit for it.

Additionally, Publons is providing academic journals the ability to ensure and show that all pre-publication peer reviews are validated. This will have two major benefits.

The first is that it will enable journals (both open access and subscription) to prove the quality of the peer reviews behind their published papers. This will help journals to fight off recent attacks they’ve had over their peer review quality, as seen in the recent Science sting, amongst others.

The second is that the pre-publication reviews will become an official part of researchers’ resumes, gaining extra weight in hiring and promotion decisions. At present, The MacDiarmid Institute has signed an agreement to begin 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 journals and institutions have expressed interest and further announcements are expected shortly.

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.

This benefits the community at large - researchers, journals, the public, and science in general.

About Publons
Publons is an open access peer review platform where academics can build reputation for reviewing, rating, and discussing academic research. The company was founded in 2013 in response to the frustrations of the academic publishing process that CEO and Founder Andrew Preston experienced during his PhD in physics and as a postdoctoral researcher at Boston University.

Publons is based in Wellington, New Zealand, and after graduating from the inaugural Lightning Lab startup accelerator batch, raised a seed capital round to help achieve its mission of speeding up science.

For more information about Publons, please visit our website or follow us on social media:



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