Publons, the New Zealand start-up that developed a platform to support the pre and post publication peer-review process, has passed its target to achieve more than 25,000 reviewer profiles within a year of launch. The number currently standing at more that 29,000.
Daniel Johnston, co-founder of Publons, said, ‘When we launched Publons, we wanted to set specific milestones to help us measure the success of the platform. We began with an initial target of reaching 5,000 reviews and 1,000 reviewer profiles within the first year of trading. Those figures quickly came and went so we set more ambitious targets for both areas. Now we have more than 48,000 reviews, 1,600 registered users and nearly 30,000 reviewer profiles. As a new company working in a relatively new area – pre and post peer review validation - to be able to achieve this in such a short amount of time is fantastic.’
The company’s aim is to speed up science and one way to support this is to give reviewers credit for their work. As Johnston explained, ‘Peer-review is an essential part of the research process yet it is still, by and large, unrewarded work that academics are expected to do. Equally, given the way in which the process is carried out – mostly within the closed confines of publishing companies – there is little opportunity for these reviewers to receive the credit they deserve. We wanted to address this by offering a solution for reviewers to receive recognition for their work, which, in turn, would further speed scientific progress. Our number of reviews, reviewer profiles and registered users is growing which, I think, is testament that the solution is achieving its aim.’
As Johnston added, ‘Researchers are under increasing pressure to prove their research outputs in order to receive grants and get jobs. Without doubt the effort put into conducting peer-review should go towards this. Publons points system helps to turn peer review into a measurable research output which can then be quoted in grant and job applications.’