Reviewers Can Now Get ORCID Credits in PLOS Journals

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You aim to publish your work in an accredited, peer-reviewed journal. This means that others in your field gave “thumbs up” to your research, and that readers can trust the information in your paper.

After the journal submission, comes the process of peer review. How does this peer review process work? Basically, you submit your paper to a journal. The editors of this journal send your paper to other scientists in your field for evaluation. These scientists, also known as “peer-reviewers”, read your paper and decide whether it meets the criteria for publication in the journal. The journal publishes the paper once the peer review process is complete.

Peer-review is a critical step in the validation of research for publication. It underlies the credibility of science. One cannot expect editors to know everything about a research topic. Only a researcher with hands-on experience can understand the relevant experiments, and decide whether the research is valid. However, shockingly such an important step in the publishing process does not given any formal credit. What is in it for the reviewers? Are they compelled to freely give back to science?

This is where the Public Library of Science (PLOS), one of the major open-access academic publishers, has come in to fill the gap.

Karma Credits

If you thought the review process was a burden on academics, this is changing. Researchers can now earn “karma credits” for authoring, reviewing or editing papers for PLOS journals. These credits are more than just recognition. In fact, a researcher can redeem and use as article processing fees (APCs) for his own article submissions to these journals.

APCs are a journal’s way of recovering publication costs when their articles are open access. This is because their costs are not recovered by reader subscription fees as is done by traditional subscription-based journals. Reviewers will finally get an incentive to review by being given recognition as well as karma credits.

PLOS Validates Authors and Research

In addition to the monetary value of ORCID recognition provided by the publishers, it may stop the “fake co-authors” publishing problem. In the past, fictitious authors have been created by desperate authors wanting to attract attention to their manuscripts from journal editors. This tactic has proven successful when fake co-authors from prestigious research institutions have been added to a paper.

Editors are more likely to publish research, co-authored by someone from an institution that has a good track record. ORCID registration could make this difficult, as there is a strict policy prohibiting authors without an ORCID ID from being listed as co-authors of a paper. This will also stop authors listing real co-author names from prestigious institutions to their research papers without their permission. This has been done before, unknowingly to the “co-author”. A co-author will submit ORCID ID along with the paper and thereby will get an alert immediately.

Let us hope other journals follow the PLOS lead of allowing authors to offset their APCs for paper submissions with review work.

PLOS Now Credits Reviewers Too

ORCID has now introduced a way to recognize peer-reviewers for their time and effort. With ORCID, you get recognition for articles that you publish as well as articles that you review for other organizations. You cannot personally add a review contribution to your profile. Only the organization you performed the review for, or a third-party recognition service can add this to your profile. This adds to the credibility of the information on your profile, which leads to greater discoverability.

ORCID has now found a way to thank reviewers for their efforts, and they are doing this by issuing credits.

Boost Your Career – Register with ORCID

Publications play an important role in a  researcher’s career. Therefore, a research profile is a researcher’s greatest asset. Adding reviews you have done for journals not only boosts your profile and adds to your credibility as a researcher. It also helps to collate all your work into one section. In this data-driven world, having all your research activity in one place is going to be a tremendous benefit. No more Excel spreadsheets or long Word documents with lists of publications and activities advantageous for your career. Now all your work is in one, easy to access place. The academic publishing community will benefit extensively through this process.

Like PLOS journals, do you think an ORCID ID should be made mandatory for all journals? Let us know in the comments section below.

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