We feel that researchers should be assessed on a broad range of research outputs (beyond the impact factor of the journal they publish in), such as creating and sharing datasets, training others, and peer review activity. Journals rely on the expertise of reviewers to assess the quality, interest and novelty of an article. The large number of articles submitted each year take a lot of reviewing and reviewers.

So, why do researchers participate in peer review?

Our reviewers have told us that their main reasons for reviewing are to play their part as a member of the academic community, and to reciprocate the benefit gained when others reviewed their papers. Although recognition is not a key driver of peer review, we want to find ways to thank those that do it. In our surveys reviewers tell us that they value recognition, and they value it at two levels – ‘globally’ and by the journal.


Journal recognition
For several years we have recognised our top reviewers by including them in journal-specific annual posters, which are sent to the reviewers listed and displayed at conferences. While this has proved popular, following feedback we are now providing individual certificates instead, as they are more valuable for grants and tenure.

Our most recent initiative is to publish annual articles listing all reviewers of each journal. This modern twist on the traditional approach is to provide a citable DOI, which helps the reviewer to receive recognition for their work as a genuine research output.


Global recognition
Global recognition comes in different forms, but primarily through Publons and ORCID.  The mission of Publons is to enable the reviewer to:

“…effortlessly track, verify and showcase their peer review contributions across the world’s journals…to speed up science and research and give the experts involved in peer review the recognition they deserve.”

Peer review activity is displayed on the researchers’ Publons profile, making it easy for reviewers to keep a record of their activity. Normally this is limited to indicating which journal they reviewed for and when:


Screenshot of Publons interface


ORCID allows reviewers to add activity to their ORCID record; it provides them with a persistent and unique digital identifier that distinguishes them from any other researcher, which is very useful if two or more people happen to share the same name! It also supports automated linkages between researchers and their output through integration in research workflows, such as manuscript and grant submissions.

ORCID offers the potential for researchers to get recognition and for funders to better track research outputs. Since its launch, 3.3 million researchers have created an ORCID, which is fast becoming the system of choice.

Publishers are making it easy for reviewers to populate their ORCID record, either via Publons or, where publishers facilitate it and researchers allow it, automatically as part of the publishing process.

If you have suggestions for other ways we can recognise our reviewers or if you are interested in becoming a reviewer please contact us.

In the meantime, many thanks to all reviewers.


2017 reviewer recognition articles
Biology Letters
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Open Biology
Proceedings of the Royal Society A
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Royal Society Open Science


Comments are closed.