In this post, I would like to introduce to “The Node” our website, reviewercredits.com, launched last July by myself and my friend Robert Fruscio. We are both physicians (I’m in critical care, he is in Gynecological oncology) and several times we chatted about peer review: we always realized how this activity is poorly recognized, despite its invaluable role. As scientists we felt, often, hard to devote time and energies to something which has no metrics or repository or publicity. Of course, we are not so small-minded to deny that, as part of sciectific community we are all devoted to this “common effort”. At the same time it is tempting to spend an afternoon writing your own paper or preparing lessons or analyzing data (where you are more likely to get an “immediate” reward) rather than peer reviewing someone else’s paper. This is becoming more and more relevant, since scientist are increasingly “metered” in terms of productivity.
So we had the Idea of reviewercredits.com
What is reviewercredits.com?
Scientist and researchers can subscribe to ReviewerCredits.com and get recognition for all the reviews they perform. ReviewerCredits keeps a history of all the reviews performed, assigns an Index and, in the future, will give tangible rewards!
Researchers, after subscribing to the website, can fill a claim for each peer review performed in the previous twelve months. We verify that the review has actually 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 and is a feature unique to ReviewerCredits.com. Upon confirmation from the Editor, the review is added to the personal account of the reviewer.
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.
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.
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, small reseach grants, 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.
So far, about 2400 scientists joined our community. This number is still very small, if compared to the total number of the scientist active in the field of peer review, but we need the word to spread, to grow more and more!
At the same time we aim to provide a service for journals, too.
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 these journal.
We met, personally, by email and skype so many people, many liked the idea, others did not, but we always tried to get all the good suggestions to improve ourselves. We received many emails, some nice, some odd, some aggressive. Sometimes there is a natural difference toward new ideas, but we hope that the members of this community will like reviewercredits.com and decide to join us, so that, more and more, the efforts of peer reviewers get the reward which they deserve!