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Publons: The Next Step in Reviewer Recognition

Swiontkowski, Marc MD; Editor-in-Chief

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.19.00481

Disclosure: On the Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest forms, which is provided with the online version of the article, the author checked “yes” to indicate that the author had a relevant financial relationship in the biomedical arena outside the submitted work (

JBJS depends on the commitment of our approximately 1,000 peer reviewers to accomplish the goal that appears on the cover of every issue: “Excellence Through Peer Review.” To express our gratitude, JBJS publishes the name of every reviewer at the end of every year and, recently, we established our Elite Reviewers Program. This program provides recognition of and rewards reviewers who, in the previous year, performed at least 4 reviews of outstanding quality (as graded by our Editorial Board) in a timely fashion and rarely refused a request to review. We also help our reviewers do the best job that they can for us by providing a Reviewer Resource Center, which offers instructions and tips on how to review along with examples of excellent reviews. Now, JBJS is enabling our reviewers to showcase their invaluable peer-review work, which previously was often hidden, by providing them with access to Publons.

With Publons, which is part of the Web of Science Group, reviewers establish a personal profile that includes, along with a list of their publications, a verified “peer review history” listing the numbers of reviews that they performed for JBJS and other participating journals. Thus, these vital contributions to the scientific community will be part of a complete record that can be offered when submitting applications for funding or seeking appointments or promotions at the university, department, or health system level. Publons never compromises reviewer anonymity or infringes upon journal policies.

From now on, anyone who submits a review to JBJS will be asked if they wish to sign up for Publons. If they accept this free benefit, a record of their review will be automatically forwarded to Publons. In this way, we and our publishing partner Wolters Kluwer hope to ensure that our reviewers’ hard work does not go unnoticed. We believe that this is one more way that JBJS can give back to reviewers who give so much to us and the patients we serve.

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