Are Philosophers Using Publons?

About four years ago in a post about getting credit for refereeing articles, I mentioned Publons, a site that allows you to “track your publications, citation metrics, peer reviews, and journal editing work in a single, easy-to-maintain profile.”

At the time, not many philosophers or journals appeared to be making use of Publons, but there have been increasing mentions of it, and now a number of philosophy journals are listed on it (some of which have “partnered” with the Publons, as indicated on its lists by a blue checkmark).

The philosophy journals with the most reviews as of the time of this post are:

Still, people have questions about it. One reader wrote in:

Are people using Publons? Journals are offering to give me recognitions, via Publons, for review work and I just have no idea whether it’s something worth doing. I don’t particularly care about me being recognized, but I do think it’s good if our profession can come up with ways to incentivize timely, quality reviewing. Does Publons actually do that?

Discussion welcome, especially from reviewers who use Publons or have thought about it but don’t, and editors whose journals make use of Publons.

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Neil Levy
Neil Levy
4 years ago

I use it, just to keep track of my reviews. My experience is that the automatic add function is unreliable – if you click the option “record my review on publons” on the journal editorial manager, it may not work. But it’s extremely easy to add reviews manually – just forward the acknowledgement email to Publons.

Caleb Cohoe
4 years ago

I agree! In my experience, it’s an easy way to keep track of your refereeing work. I also think that refereeing is something that it’s reasonable to quantify and develop public numerical norms around. My only worry is whether Publons might try to take advantage of our date or monetize its service in an appropriate.
Here are my extended thoughts:

4 years ago

I have used it a bit, though somewhat inconsistently, in part for the reason Neil mentions – that the one-click option doesn’t always seem to work. I have not been dedicated enough to add many reviews myself, but maybe I’ll look in on it. But, recently I did get an email from Publons saying that they had “found” a number of my reviews and asked me to confirm them. They were all ones I had done (though not close all the ones I have done!) so I added those, at least. I’m not 100% sure what the benefit is, but so long as it’s easy, I’m happy to use it.

Kenny Easwaran
4 years ago

I signed up a while back. Interestingly, I’ve gotten a bunch of e-mails in the past week about old reviews having been added, and each time I’ve logged in there have been more (last week it was about 50 total reviews over the past decade that were visible, and now it’s above 80). It’s still mostly Synthese, with some from Thought, Phil Studies, Erkenntnis, and a few others. I keep my own spreadsheet of reviews that I use for my annual reports at my department, but it would be nice if most people automatically got a list with most of their reviews from a service like this. The fact that I’ve seen several discussions of it in the past few weeks and that a bunch more reviews have been uploaded in the past week suggests to me that perhaps it’s reaching a tipping point where it will be the conventional solution to this.

Michael Cholbi
4 years ago

I use it as well. To echo Neil, even when your review isn’t added automatically, forwarding your acknowledgement e-mail to them is easy enough. Last year, they named me a ‘Top 10 reviewer’ in Arts and Humanities, which admittedly didn’t rock my world, but it’s a little morsel of recognition for service that largely goes unrecognized. It might also prove to be a good resource for editors to find suitable reviewers.