Publons have introduced a new feature that will allow authors of open peer review journals to provide feedback to their peer reviewers. Reviewers spend a large amount of time critically reviewing papers in order to improve the quality of scientific literature. Now, authors have the opportunity to recognise their hard work using the new “Author feedback feature.” Building off Publons’ Excellent Review feature for editors, this tool allows authors to rate reviews of their manuscripts for their quality, thoroughness and helpfulness, and acknowledge the reviewers who have gone above and beyond.
In Publons’ words, their aim is to “help the scholarly community to better understand peer review quality from the perspective of the entire research community. This is not without its challenges, but we believe that by engaging with all stakeholders in the peer review process — editors, authors, reviewers, and the research community — we can begin to build a useful picture of peer review quality”.
At present this feature is only available to authors contributing to open review journals on Publons, and we are pleased to offer this new feature to our authors of Open Biology, an open access journal that publishes high-impact biology at the molecular and cellular level. Open Biology operates open peer review for all manuscripts making the review process as transparent as possible. Reviewer reports, decision letters and associated author responses are published alongside the articles. Reviewers can decide to remain anonymous or sign their reports. This feature will allow Open Biology authors to rate the quality of the feedback that they receive and will also give them the opportunity to recognise those peer reviewers who have made an exceptional effort to improve the quality of their work. Reviews are rated for their clarity and thoroughness, and those that score seven out of a possible nine points are deemed “Excellent”. “Excellent” reviewers will be awarded a special badge to display on their Publons profile. Only reviewers with a Publons account can be rated. The exact scores will be completely confidential. Reviews rated as excellent will also stand out in the reviewers’ Publons Verified Record. Scored reviews that do not meet the requirements for excellence will not be indicated on reviewers’ profile or displayed in any other public part of the site.
The benefits of this feature for Open Biology include providing better recognition of excellent reviewers of Open Biology manuscripts, and the journal will be leading the way in understanding the quality of peer reviews performed, from both the editors’ and authors’ perspective. This will help in the measurement of review quality and greatly assist in improving peer review.