Springer Nature and Publons Enter Wide-Ranging Partnership to Bring Greater Efficiency and Recognition to Peer Review

    The burden on the peer review community is increasing as the volume of published research articles grows. Research output is rising exponentially and this is putting pressure on the system, with many academics inundated with requests to peer review. The recent Global State of Peer Review report highlights a growing “reviewer fatigue”.

    To help address this, Springer Nature and Publons, part of Clarivate Analytics, have announced a partnership to improve the peer review process and enable peer reviewers to receive recognition for their contribution.

    The first part of the partnership will see Publons’ Reviewer Recognition Service rolled out across more than 2,000 Springer Nature journals starting with Scientific Reports, the world’s largest open access journal.  This follows a successful pilot, which saw some 60,000 reviewers record over 275,000 reviews on Publons, and will provide the researchers who provide over one million reviews for Springer Nature journals every year with important recognition for their work  

    The two organisations will also work together to make finding the right peer reviewer faster and smarter.   Springer Nature’s custom-built in-house reviewer finder will connect with the peer review and editorial history of Publons’ 500,000+ strong, and rapidly growing, cross-publisher reviewer community, through Publons Reviewer Connect. This, combined with the integration of Publons’ reviewer availability feature, will help Springer Nature to further improve the peer review process by identifying reviewer workload and availability constraints amongst potential reviewers. 

    Steven Inchcoombe, Springer Nature’s Chief Publishing Officer commented:

    “Peer review is at the heart of the research process. At Springer Nature, up to a million academics a year generously dedicate hours of their time to provide much-valued input to the research we publish, making sure it is the best it can be and stands up to independent scrutiny. Our partnership with Publons allows us to recognise this contribution in ways that matter to our reviewers, across our entire portfolio.

    “Publishers need to work collectively to find new solutions, notably in the integrity and efficiency of the peer review process. This is why we will also be providing our own reviewer availability data to support Publons’ publisher-neutral service. We hope that our contribution will make a significant first step to what will be transformative cross-publisher collaboration.”

    Andrew Preston, Managing Director, Publons, said:

    “We are proud to announce this strategic partnership on peer review with one of the world’s leading academic publishers. The top request we receive from researchers is for us to integrate with more journals to make it easier to get recognition for their work. Over the coming months Springer Nature’s integrations and use of the historical review export, which allows researchers to automatically build a record of their past contributions to Springer Nature journals, will drastically expand the scale at which this is possible.

    Our Global State of Peer Review report, sourced from a survey of over 12,000 reviewers and published in September, found reviewer availability to be one of the key inefficiencies in the peer review process and highlighted the need for publishers to work together. I commend Springer Nature for their forward-thinking desire to create a partnership that will not just provide their editors with timely information about the expertise and availability of potential reviewers but will also support cross-publisher collaboration.”

    Publons will continue to support Springer Nature’s partnership with ORCID through its Reviewer Recognition integration, which ensures Publons-verified reviews are automatically added to a researcher’s ORCID record. Since ORCID began asserting peer reviews in 2015, over half a million reviews have been added – with Publons contributing 95% of these.