Career, Science

Making peer review more transparent … and earning bragging rights!

How do you procrastinate? In my case, when deadlines loom, I suddenly feel the urge to upload all my personal information to some randomly selected web-service that promises to make me rich and famous … or at least a better human being or scientist.

The latest thing I went for is called Publons.

Publons works with the world’s top publishers so you can effortlessly track, verify and showcase your peer review contributions across the world’s journals.

And who wouldn’t want to work with the world’s top publishers?

So I signed up for it. Check out my profile here.

Well-earned bragging rights

Apparently Publons reviews peer review and speeds up science. Well, whatever.

I don’t care how fast science is, I just care about my CV … and, hey, that’s cool, they produce an official looking Verified Peer Review Record like this:

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.06.35.png

I only had to forward all the “Thank you for reviewing” emails I get after trashing yet another paper and the nice people at Publons verified them.

And, look, now I can brag that I am officially in the 92nd percentile of verified review contributions! (But compare it to the world’s top peer reviewer.)

Or even better, look at this plot (important for all of us obsessed with impact factors):Screen Shot 2016-09-24 at 10.24.11.png

It clearly shows that I am very picky about accepting review invitations. I generally only review for journals I aspire to publish in, not journals I actually manage to publish in. I mean, how good can a journal be, if it takes my papers.

Everybody loves transparency .. except PNAS

If I want to, I can even make the text of my reviews world-readable. I might actually do this, I like the idea of making the review process more transparent.

Most journals seem to be Ok with transparency too. Except for that old-boys club that is PNAS. In my list, PNAS is the only journal marked as not open by a crossed out red eye:


And Publons comments:

This journal required that you attain permission before you sign your name to this review. Please contact your editor.

Oh yeah? I need your permission?

We will see about that, shall we …

I am no fan of PNAS – as I have explained before – and can’t really remember why I agreed to work for them 2 years ago. But I did.

So let it be known that I reviewed the paper “Single cell-derived clonal analysis of human glioblastoma links functional and genomic heterogeneity” by Peter Dirks’ group.

Twice, actually, at different journals. The first one was Nature, I think. And I liked the paper. Twice.

Now sue me, PNAS.


PS: Did you know you could pronounce that journal name in a way that makes even the most mature person giggle … or at least cringe? Say it loud, say it clear!

PPS: And sign up for Publons. It’s a good thing.


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