Announcing a New Benefit for PeerJ Peer Reviewers
Here at PeerJ we know that the system of pre-publication peer review in operation in today’s scholarly journal environment would not be possible without the selfless efforts of the peer reviewers themselves. At the vast majority of publishers, peer reviewers gain zero recognition and zero reward for their invaluable work, and so it really isn’t surprising that journals find it hard to persuade reviewers to devote many hours of work to a review with no hope of being credited or rewarded for that work.
Fortunately, we believe that PeerJ provides some powerful solutions to this problem. First of all, we have a solution to the problem of ‘lack of credit’ via our system of Open Peer Review. Specifically, reviewers are given the option of making their name known to the authors, and if they do so (and if the authors choose to publish the review history on the final article), then the work that the reviewer submitted is identified with their name and they gain public credit for having performed the review. Even if the authors chose not to publish their review history then reviewers who provided their name in the process still accrue ‘contribution points’ for their review. We believe that this solution allows reviewers to be appropriately acknowledged for their work and (because most authors choose to publish their review history) in most cases the text that the reviewer contributed is also made public and not ‘lost’ to the world. Examples of reviewers being credited in this way include Kevin Black who peer-reviewed “Whose name is it anyway? Varying patterns of possessive usage in eponymous neurodegenerative diseases” and Ken Takahashi who peer-reviewed “A non-cardiomyocyte autonomous mechanism of cardioprotection involving the SLO1 BK channel”. When these individuals perform more ‘public’ peer reviews then that fact will be reflected on their public profiles (note: reviewers must choose to make their profiles ‘public’ in order to gain this public recognition, otherwise their contributions remain unacknowledged).
As to the second problem – lack of tangible reward – we are pleased to announce a new ‘reviewer reward’ program for any PeerJ peer reviewer who submits their review on time. Specifically, reviewers who submit an on-time peer review to PeerJ will now be credited with a limited time (12 month) Basic PeerJ Membership. By introducing this benefit, we are acknowledging the hard work that goes into reviewing, by providing those reviewers with a tangible benefit for their work. This benefit means that if a reviewer chooses to submit an article to PeerJ within 12 months of completing their on-time review then they will not need to buy a membership for that publication (although any co-authors would still need to be paying Members, as normal). They can also take full advantage of unlimited submissions to PeerJ PrePrints for as long as their temporary membership is in place.
There is some small print (see below) but we hope and expect that this new benefit will be well received by our reviewers who will understand that we truly appreciate the efforts they make when submitting their reviews in a timely manner.
* The Reviewer Reward is only provided to those reviewers who submit an invited peer-review to PeerJ within the agreed review deadline.
* Although PeerJ Memberships are normally ‘for life’, in the case of this benefit reviewers are only credited with a limited time Basic PeerJ Membership. This limited time Membership lasts for 12 months and then reverts to a Free Membership (unless the individual has chosen to purchase a paid membership in the meantime).
* Basic Membership entitles an author to publish one paper per year for free. Therefore this Reviewer Reward means that an on-time reviewer can publish a single paper with us, within 12 months, without needing to become a paying Member (and they can also take full advantage of unlimited submissions to PeerJ PrePrints).
* The normal PeerJ membership requirements apply to any co-authors of a submission (i.e. all other co-authors would still need to be Members with the correct Membership Status).
* This benefit is for a single individual and is not transferable. If a reviewer is already a paying Member then this reward does not apply.
* This benefit is not cumulative within the 12 month time-frame. If an individual reviews more than one paper in the 12 month period then although they earn our gratitude, they would only receive the one credit.
* Although receiving this credit does not obligate the recipient in any way, Reviewers can choose to decline this credit – just email us to let us know.