Why should you peer review?
Advice from Publons Managing Director, Andrew Preston
Andrew Preston is the co-founder and Managing Director of Publons, the world’s largest peer review platform. Andrew tells us more about Publons and peer review in general, and offers some top tips for researchers thinking about making a start in reviewing.
Why do you think peer review is so important?
Peer review is at the heart of research. It is the gold standard for ensuring the trust and integrity of scholarly communication. More still, it is a form of collaboration between experts, with critical feedback often improving research and helping propel research forward.
What benefits can researchers enjoy by working as a peer reviewer?
Being asked to peer review is a great honor. It shows editors consider you an authority in your field. You’ll keep abreast of research, learn new and best-practice methods, and start examining your own research from that critical vantage point. Peer reviewing helps you to become a better writer, and perhaps ultimately a more successful published author. All this work is evidence of your standing and contributions in your field, which can boost your CV and help you get ahead.
Most importantly, peer review improves research. So if you are keen on helping push humankind forward through sound science, then peer reviewing is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
What makes a good reviewer, in 3 words?
Clear, constructive, expertise.
Tell us more about Publons…
Publons is a website that turns peer review and editorial contributions into measurable and rewarding activities. Experts use Publons to effortlessly keep a verified record of their peer review and editorial work across the world’s journals. We collaborate with publishers and journals to ensure reviewers and editors are recognized for these highly valuable contributions even if the reviews are anonymous and papers are never published.
Myself and my co-founder Daniel Johnston started Publons in 2013 in New Zealand. We now have offices in London, UK and Wellington, New Zealand.
How does Publons help peer reviewers get credit for their work?
For any of our partnered journals, you can choose to have a verified record of your review added to your Publons profile by checking a box on the review submission form.
For non-partnered journals you simply forward the “Thank you for reviewing” email you receive from the editorial office and we do the rest.
More information about how to add review records can be found from the FAQs on our site.
Can you tell us a top tip for early career researchers who want to get started in peer review?
Make it known. Contact the managing editor of journals that interest you, describe your area of expertise and ask to be added to their reviewer databases. You can also do this directly on Publons. Register for a free account, search out your journal, and just click the button to volunteer to review. We make your interest known to all journals that partner with us. We’ll let the editors know and they will contact you when your skills match their needs.
We’ve recently extended our partnership with peer review recognition initiative Publons to 250 journals, so now even more of our peer reviewers can receive verified recognition for their contributions to academic research. Find out more.
Andrew Preston is the Managing Director at Publons of Publons, currently based in London, UK. He received his PhD in condensed matter physics from Victoria University of Wellington in 2010 and did his postdoctoral research in x-ray spectroscopy at Boston University. He founded Publons with a mission to speed up research by improving peer review. Publons recognizes reviewers for their work and – with more than half a million reviews and over 1,000 partner journals – is the world’s largest peer review platform.