PEER REVIEWER: A CRUCIAL AND UN-REWARDED JOB

The peer review process is the cornerstone of scientific communication. The vast majority of scientific Journals employ peer reviewers to select and prioritize innovative articles and to increase the quality and readability of manuscripts accepted for publication.

Accordingly, performing a peer review is an essential job and carries its weight of responsibility. It is usually a demanding task that requires significant time and effort.

Several metrics have been developed to appraise and quantify the work of authors, articles and journals. For example, the “Impact factor” calculates the average number of times articles are cited in a year in a journal. Hence, the higher the impact factor the more important is the journal.

Unfortunately, no attention has been given to peer-reviewer and their work. No metrics and no rewards exist to recognize and reward their performance. Peer review is a crucial phase in the process of publication for Journals and Publishers.

According to a recent survey conducted by Wiley, the main reasons driving scientists into peer-review is their willingness to actively participate in the research community for the advancement of science. Secondly, they are impelled to return the favor for reviews they have received for their own publication. However, relying only on a volunteer effort with a lack of any form of recognition has led to two major consequences.

Firstly, while established Journals with higher impact factor have their own pool of trusted reviewers, many other Journals struggle to find available scientists for peer review.

Secondly, since reviewers work for free, often they are not motivated to meet the expected deadlines, and the overall quality of their evaluation relies only on individual integrity and cannot be evaluated.

Obviously, this leads to heavy delays in the publication cycle and decreases the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. It is clear that Journals, Publishers and Editors would tremendously benefit from a satisfactory rewarding system for peer reviewers.

 

WHAT IS REVIEWER CREDITS?

Scientist and researchers can subscribe to ReviewerCredits and get recognition for all the reviews they perform. ReviewerCredits keeps a history of all the reviews performed, assigns a Index and gives tangible rewards! ReviewerCredits is, proudly, a spin-off company of the University of Milan-Bicocca.

Researchers after subscribing to the website, can fill a claim for each review performed in the previous six months. We verify that the review has been performed by asking a confirmation from the journal. This step is essential in the process to create a solid and reliable history of reviews performed. Upon confirmation from the Editor, the review is added to the personal account of the reviewer.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES FOR THE REVIEWERS?

The aim of our website is to provide two types of rewards for peer reviewers:

THE “ACADEMIC” REWARD

We decided to create our own metric, the Reviewer Index to appraise and quantify the work of reviewers. The reviewers are able to accumulate points towards their Reviewer Index. For each review performed, the reviewer will receive one point. The reliability of this Index is guaranteed by the fact that each single review is verified and certified by the Journals. A high Reviewer Index reflects a very active reviewer. This Index reflects and measures the value created by all the hard work performed with peer reviewing.

Furthermore, subscribers on their profile will be able to keep track of the reviews performed for any Journal, and will be able to download a pdf file with the list of all approved reviews.

Example of reviewer Credits certificate

THE “TANGIBLE” REWARD

Reviewers can also earn credits and redeemed these credits for tangible rewards. One review certified by the journal earns 10 credits for the reviewer (20 if the Journal has an account at reviewercredits.com). Credits can also be earned by inviting colleagues to join reviewercredits.com.

Our vision is to make credits convertible in real, tangible rewards. We would like to offer the possibility to choose between several alternatives, including, for example, discount on publishing fees for articles, free subscription to Journals, gift cards, real cash, or others. The amount of this kind of reward will depend on you, on your activity, and on your willingness to change things that are, apparently, unchangeable. Let’s work together and get the deserved reward for your hard work; be part of this revolution in the scientific community!

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES FOR THE JOURNALS?

Journal’s editors often struggle to find experts willing to review articles submitted or waste time chasing reviewers whose peer reviews are overdue.

There is the lack of any mechanism by which reviewers can be rewarded for their effort. Reviewercredits wants to become this mechanism to encourage and motivate reviewers easing the job on editors, journals and publishers. Reviewercredits wants to reward reviewer and help them create value for themselves by assigning a reviewer Index for the work performed.

Journals can actively participate in this new direction by opening a profile on our website. Registered journals provide twice the credits for each peer review. This will likely increase the involvement and efficiency of peer-reviewers for your journal.

Reviewercredits always double-checks the accuracy of each review by requesting a confirmation from the journal. By collaborating with us in this verification, you can allow reviewers to earn credits. We usually request a confirmation from the Editor by simply clicking on a confirmation link in an email. Automatically this provides the reviewer their credits and increases their Reviewer Index.

WHO FUNDS REVIEWERCREDITS?

ReviewerCredits does not receive any external funds yet. Its developers solely support it.

 

Follow our project on ResearchGate!