PeerJ Tokens – 9 month update

First articles paid for entirely with Tokens, and key peer review metrics are positively impacted


It has now been just over nine months since we launched PeerJ Tokens, part of our Contributor Rewards Program. Tokens are earned by PeerJ reviewers and editors, and can be exchanged for discounts on our APC. They are stackable over time and multiple authors can apply them to a submission, maximizing the discount available. You can watch an explainer here.

Nine months in, we wanted to share an update on the data points we shared in May.

We are now approaching 7000 PeerJ contributors who have earned Tokens since we launched, and almost 90,000 Tokens earned. We’ve been delighted to see a 100% APC discount applied more than once, in many instances by authors pooling the Tokens they have earned from reviewing and editing. This is exactly what we hoped to see – active contributors driving down their publishing costs. You can learn more on how to use your Tokens here.

We’ve been really encouraged by the number of reviewers who have signed up to earn Tokens, and particularly to see a number of them actively volunteering to review specific papers (which you can do here). We recommend that authors opt-in to Reviewer Match when submitting.

Key peer review metrics are positively impacted

Positive impacts have also been seen in our peer review process, with the Contributor Rewards Program seemingly driving higher levels of engagement from our contributors: the average time for contributors to accept an invitation to review has dropped significantly this year, and in the last two months fell below 4 days for the first time in almost 2 years. We’re also seeing a similar correlation with editor assignment, with a more than 20% reduction in time for editors to take on a new submission. 

What’s up next in the Tokens program?

We’ve also been focusing our Token development work on the PeerJ Hubs Cooperative Fund with our first Hub partner, IABO. This concept allows IABO members to transfer their Tokens to a central community fund, managed by IABO, which IABO members can apply to to reduce their APC – thereby providing a way for the IABO community to cooperatively support their colleagues in publishing open access. Like all PeerJ contributors, IABO members earn Tokens for reviewing and editing, but can also choose to convert their Hub discount into Tokens and donate them to the Fund as well.

Very shortly we’ll be adding the ability for users to transfer Tokens.

We’ve got some exciting ideas for Tokens in 2023, so keep an eye out on the blog and our socials to find out more.