Publons is a website and free service for academics to track, verify and showcase their peer review and editorial contributions for academic journals. It was launched in 2012 and by 2017 more than 200,000 researchers have joined the site, adding more than one million reviews across 25,000 journals.
Publons’ mission is to “speed up science by harnessing the power of peer review”. Publons claims that by turning peer review into a measurable research output, academics can use their review and editorial record as evidence of their standing and influence in their field. Publons says its business model is based on partnering with publishers. Publons produces a verified record of a person’s review and editorial activity for journals. This evidence is showcased on reviewers’ online profiles and can be downloaded to include in CVs, funding and job applications, and promotion and performance evaluations.
Publons also provides:
- tools for publishers to find, screen, contact, and motivate peer reviewers;
- data and publications about global peer review behaviour;
- peer review training for early-career researchers;
- and features for academics to discuss and evaluate published research.
Reviewers can choose whether or not to make the content of their review open access following publication of the reviewed publication, though journals can choose to override this. Review content is shared using a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license. It has partnerships with major publishers, including Springer Nature, Taylor and Francis, Oxford University Press, BMJ, SAGE, Wiley and more, and with related services such as Altmetric and ORCID.